Making a career change can be daunting, but it is possible and with the help of services like Working Wales, the transition can be smoother than you think.
Working Wales, an all-age employability service run by Careers Wales and funded by the Welsh Government, has launched a campaign aimed at individuals looking to make a career change to seek expert careers guidance and coaching and book a free mid-career review.
There are many reasons why people seek a change in career direction, from career reinvention and progression to reasons out of their control like redundancy or health.
Whether you’re a parent looking to re-enter the job market after a career break or someone experiencing redundancy, Working Wales can provide you with free and impartial employability support, tailored to your personal circumstances.
Booking a mid-career review is the ideal first step in starting to make a career change. From discussing new possibilities and looking at transferable skills to job matching and getting work ready, careers advisers at Working Wales can help you find your feet in job roles that suit you and your specific attributes and needs.
Here’s how changing careers feels to three people who have been there and done it, and the range of support they received from Working Wales.
“I can learn new things in my 50s! I still have the same aptitude as I had as a 21-year-old.”
Martin moved to Barry, Wales from Ireland when he was 21 after completing a degree in electrical engineering. Following a successful 30-year career in engineering, in 2018 he found himself unemployed for the first time due to a steady shrinking of the industry. Martin decided to turn to Working Wales who helped him find his new path, that led him to a role in cyber security.
Reflecting on his experience of looking for a job, Martin said “Job searching 30 years later was totally different. I had been looking for a year without much success and only got a few interviews. I was becoming increasingly demoralised, and I found that when I did get to the interview stage, I didn’t have much to say so wasn’t able to promote myself effectively.”
Martin was advised to book an appointment with Working Wales and met with careers adviser Sian. Together they soon concluded that cyber security was a good route for Martin as it combined his passion for technology with a sector full of employment opportunities.
With the help of a student grant and loan, at age 56 Martin graduated from a full-time year-long master’s degree at the University of South Wales.
Martin say’s “The course taught me so much. I finished with a distinction grade, so proving to myself that my brain still works, and that I can learn new things in my 50s! I still have the same aptitude as I had as a 21-year-old. It has been such a great experience, and I’m now more positive and confident and it’s given me my spark back.”
In March 2021, just under three years since becoming unemployed, Martin successfully landed his first job in cyber security, and has already experienced a variety of roles in different companies to expand his knowledge and experience within the industry.
Reflecting on his journey since becoming unemployed in 2018, Martin say’s “I can see now that I was becoming increasingly socially isolated, for financial reasons and because I just didn’t have the social interaction at work. From a social perspective, my new career has allowed me to meet so many talented and genuinely nice people who I’ve been able to learn so much from”.
“The start of this rewarding journey was sitting down with Sian in the Barry Careers Wales centre for half an hour, back in 2019”.
“It is possible to move on from becoming unemployed, there are opportunities out there. I should have made the change sooner”.
Frances from Denbighshire worked in the care sector for over 30 years until her employer of 11 years had a restructure and redundancies were made.
Always keen to keep current and learn new skills, Frances kept a positive outlook and accessed support and financial guidance from Working Wales to allow her to turn things around and secure a new role as a mental health advocate.
After finding herself unemployed, Frances found that she was successful in getting to the interview stage but wasn’t receiving any job offers.
Frances says, “I was told about the support that Working Wales could offer people who had been made redundant by a friend who works for the Department for Work and Pensions, and I thought it was worth a phone call”.
Frances’s Working Wales adviser went through her options and helped her access the relevant support packages available, including financial support.
Talking about the support she received, Frances says, “The whole process was quick and easy to follow.”
Telling us about her new role Frances explains: “My job involves me supporting people with mental health issues with any housing and debt problems. It’s a very worthwhile and rewarding role and it’s not too far from my experiences in care”.
In her current role, Frances has already successfully completed a Level 4 City & Guilds in Advocacy so is taking the opportunity to carry on learning and gaining qualifications.
“My careers adviser went above and beyond for me, and I am so grateful for her support.”
Sue from Wrexham enjoyed a 10-year career as an events co-ordinator. Following Covid-19 related redundancy from the industry, Sue took guidance from Working Wales and went on to find a new role as transport administrator for a national pharmaceutical wholesaler and has already been promoted to a supervisor role.
Talking about losing her job, Sue says “Losing a stable job that I enjoyed and had been in for so long was a real knock to my confidence. The job market had changed so much, and I didn’t know how to get involved again. It was a tough time for me.”
With support from Working Wales, Sue received careers guidance, CV support, interview technique support and help with job searching and was also put forward for a skills coaching community programme.
Talking about the sessions, Sue said: “They were useful in helping me streamline my skills. I wanted to get another job, but I just didn’t feel I had the right skills, and I was struggling to sell myself to employers.
“The support I’ve received has helped me recognise and highlight my skills and kept me going and motivated at a difficult time. I became determined to get myself back into work and I am so much more confident and capable at my job.
“I would recommend Working Wales to anyone at a crossroads in their career.”
If you’re looking to make a career change, you can access a free mid-career review to get free and impartial careers guidance and coaching to help you start making changes and find a career that’s right for you.
Appointments are offered face-to-face, by telephone or via webchat.
Call 0800 028 4844 or search ‘Working Wales mid-career review’ to find out more.