Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

workhou

Learning A Trade In Your 30S..

Recommended Posts

Hello, need some advice from people.

I want to change careers and learn a trade.

Most people my age and younger who went to university have zero practical skills because we were all getting trained up for 'the knowledge economy.' It blew up in my face because I found I don't like working in offices and I'm crap at office admin. I hate the fact that it's simply a conveyor belt of meaningless work in an office, much like a factory really. No one makes anything, or seems to actually achieve anything. Just phone calls and typing all day.

Now, I have no practical skills but a CV which is geared towards office/unskilled factory work, which I have done equally to pay the bills since graduating from uni. I don't think there is much of a future in the knowledge economy because it will ultimately get outsourced, however practical things/services people need cannot be outsourced, so maybe it will be a growth area in the future (barring being undercut by economic immigrants.)

I never had the need to do anything car or DIY related when I was growing up or as an adult as my dad done everything for me, as he is a qualified engineer. I hate this now, as I can't do bugger all for myself. My dad's getting on now and I can't tie my own shoelaces because I was never taught to do anything. So I also want to learn so I can do more for my family and for myself.

It seems though that becoming a tradesman in practice is impossible in the UK for 16 year olds never mind a 30 something like me. Sure, you can go back to university it's easy to do and getting into student debt is also easy, but it seems much more difficult to get an apprenticeship. Most people I know seem to get them through 'connections.' Ie Son of xxx employed only etc.'

NVQ College courses do exist but you need to be on an apprenticeship to do to them! City and Guild courses are available part-time but are these courses worth doing? I remember a few years back they used to have privately run courses advertised in the paper where you could learn to be a plumber in week! Ridiculous!!

I'm worried about the value of the city and guild courses as I've already been burned once with higher education..

Has anyone or does anyone know of a someone who has retrained and done an apprenticeship in their 30s? Or just done courses at college to get themselves started? I seen a TV program on the BBC once about some woman who retrained as a plumber in her 30s but in practice does this really happen?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went on a computer programming course when I was early 30s!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well. I had a friend who in his 60's took up the melodeon. He had no previous musical training at all but within a year had become an accomplished player. He did this by sheer hard work, hours and hours of practice daily.

Another friend retired from the Police and became a plumber,so I would say that someone in their 30's could easily learn a trade.

Firstly, decide what areas you could be competent in. I know that I am hopeless with wood but good at mechanical things. Maybe you are different.

Remember, just because it is a trade does not mean that there is a lot of studying involved. Uni education tends to make you think that trades are for simple people. Not so.

Get books from the library and give yourself an idea of what is involved in various trades, Electricity and Gas for instance (Which plumbers need a knowledge of) are now highly skilled and not for the uneducated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a professional electronics engineer but also would have liked to have done a bit electrical on the side (declared, of course!). But most courses are full-time etc.... would love to do something in my spare time but that seems very rare?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well. I had a friend who in his 60's took up the melodeon. He had no previous musical training at all but within a year had become an accomplished player. He did this by sheer hard work, hours and hours of practice daily.

Is that a career or a hobby? :huh:

Nice to know I might still achieve something!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A trade? Practical or artistic?

If practical, see if you can get to know some practitioners. If you suggest apprenticing yourself to a plumber, is his reaction one of interest or of laughing in your face?

If artistic, the question is can you produce things people will pay for? That's a tough one: it's easy to overestimate interest in your creations. But I can think of at least one person who switched direction in her 30s and is now a successful carpenter - which I guess has a foot in both practical and artistic camps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I knew someone who jacked in a career in industry and became a successful dentist in his 30s. It must have been back in the '80s when he made the jump as I knew him in the 1990s. Probably not so many opportunities now that skilled jobs can be easily filled from abroad if there's any perceived shortage in any area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, need some advice from people.

I want to change careers and learn a trade.

Most people my age and younger who went to university have zero practical skills because we were all getting trained up for 'the knowledge economy.' It blew up in my face because I found I don't like working in offices and I'm crap at office admin. I hate the fact that it's simply a conveyor belt of meaningless work in an office, much like a factory really. No one makes anything, or seems to actually achieve anything. Just phone calls and typing all day.

Now, I have no practical skills but a CV which is geared towards office/unskilled factory work, which I have done equally to pay the bills since graduating from uni. I don't think there is much of a future in the knowledge economy because it will ultimately get outsourced, however practical things/services people need cannot be outsourced, so maybe it will be a growth area in the future (barring being undercut by economic immigrants.)

I never had the need to do anything car or DIY related when I was growing up or as an adult as my dad done everything for me, as he is a qualified engineer. I hate this now, as I can't do bugger all for myself. My dad's getting on now and I can't tie my own shoelaces because I was never taught to do anything. So I also want to learn so I can do more for my family and for myself.

It seems though that becoming a tradesman in practice is impossible in the UK for 16 year olds never mind a 30 something like me. Sure, you can go back to university it's easy to do and getting into student debt is also easy, but it seems much more difficult to get an apprenticeship. Most people I know seem to get them through 'connections.' Ie Son of xxx employed only etc.'

NVQ College courses do exist but you need to be on an apprenticeship to do to them! City and Guild courses are available part-time but are these courses worth doing? I remember a few years back they used to have privately run courses advertised in the paper where you could learn to be a plumber in week! Ridiculous!!

I'm worried about the value of the city and guild courses as I've already been burned once with higher education..

Has anyone or does anyone know of a someone who has retrained and done an apprenticeship in their 30s? Or just done courses at college to get themselves started? I seen a TV program on the BBC once about some woman who retrained as a plumber in her 30s but in practice does this really happen?

I guess I have been in a similar situation myself - A frustration at working in corporate office jobs where you don't have any tangible skills - your doing a bit of everything as opposed to specific skill set in an area, and therefore your only option is the next job.

and have casually thought about other options - the problem is with a trade in my opinion, don't we have lots of people from eastern europe, and a bad housing market, plus there are lots of other people in the industry, who are going to have all the contacts, skills already, and i'd bet you their not making a fortune, so what makes you think, you can do better. The other thing, are you good at DIY etc, working around the house, can you fix problems at home, surely it needs to be something have a natural desire or talent for.

I have considered being a software developer, as I have been involved in the project management/planning/corordination side with software projects - but then there are so many guys already in it, who have much more interest and talent, i'd just waste years getting up to speed with them and maybe not even like it that much, and earn more in the job I am doing.

So my issue with any career change is - there are probably lots of people already in any area not making a fortune - The key question what can you do differently or better than them?

Maybe see what experience you already have, and see if you can specialise in something from that, or build on that experience. I don't know, thats just my thoughts, maybe this is the wrong approach and it would be good to do something different????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, need some advice from people.

I want to change careers and learn a trade.

Most people my age and younger who went to university have zero practical skills because we were all getting trained up for 'the knowledge economy.' It blew up in my face because I found I don't like working in offices and I'm crap at office admin. I hate the fact that it's simply a conveyor belt of meaningless work in an office, much like a factory really. No one makes anything, or seems to actually achieve anything. Just phone calls and typing all day.

Now, I have no practical skills but a CV which is geared towards office/unskilled factory work, which I have done equally to pay the bills since graduating from uni. I don't think there is much of a future in the knowledge economy because it will ultimately get outsourced, however practical things/services people need cannot be outsourced, so maybe it will be a growth area in the future (barring being undercut by economic immigrants.)

I never had the need to do anything car or DIY related when I was growing up or as an adult as my dad done everything for me, as he is a qualified engineer. I hate this now, as I can't do bugger all for myself. My dad's getting on now and I can't tie my own shoelaces because I was never taught to do anything. So I also want to learn so I can do more for my family and for myself.

It seems though that becoming a tradesman in practice is impossible in the UK for 16 year olds never mind a 30 something like me. Sure, you can go back to university it's easy to do and getting into student debt is also easy, but it seems much more difficult to get an apprenticeship. Most people I know seem to get them through 'connections.' Ie Son of xxx employed only etc.'

NVQ College courses do exist but you need to be on an apprenticeship to do to them! City and Guild courses are available part-time but are these courses worth doing? I remember a few years back they used to have privately run courses advertised in the paper where you could learn to be a plumber in week! Ridiculous!!

I'm worried about the value of the city and guild courses as I've already been burned once with higher education..

Has anyone or does anyone know of a someone who has retrained and done an apprenticeship in their 30s? Or just done courses at college to get themselves started? I seen a TV program on the BBC once about some woman who retrained as a plumber in her 30s but in practice does this really happen?

I retrained as a plumber at age 31 (I am now 37), but I went down the private training route and it cost me £4k. I have done quite well for myself since but you do have to be practically minded. I am moving on now and training in addition as an electrician which is again private and is gonna cost me approx £3k. If you need any advice please PM me. Where abouts in the country are you I can recomend some good training providers

p.s. I have just taken on my first apprentice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I have been in a similar situation myself - A frustration at working in corporate office jobs where you don't have any tangible skills - your doing a bit of everything as opposed to specific skill set in an area, and therefore your only option is the next job.

That's not that bad! A lot of people can't deal with people. If you can you already have an advantage!

I have considered being a software developer, as I have been involved in the project management/planning/corordination side with software projects - but then there are so many guys already in it, who have much more interest and talent, i'd just waste years getting up to speed with them and maybe not even like it that much, and earn more in the job I am doing.

I tried "software development" and is was not as good as I thought! If you can do the project stuff well stick with it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A guy at our work started a comp sci degree in Eire with no money, no education and 2 children and graduated at 40.

He got a first more through hard work than talent, got a job with us, applied himself thoroughly and has a well-paid job, a house and happy kids.

He'll never set the world on fire, but he's a lesson to all of us supposedly more talented who think the world owes us a living. You can do it if you want it badly enough. Just do something you care about enough to make it interesting to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A guy at our work started a comp sci degree in Eire with no money, no education and 2 children and graduated at 40.

He got a first more through hard work than talent, got a job with us, applied himself thoroughly and has a well-paid job, a house and happy kids.

He'll never set the world on fire, but he's a lesson to all of us supposedly more talented who think the world owes us a living. You can do it if you want it badly enough. Just do something you care about enough to make it interesting to you.

Nice story Mr Duke! Shows what we could ALL achieve if we tried hard enough! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I retrained as a plumber at age 31 (I am now 37), but I went down the private training route and it cost me £4k. I have done quite well for myself since but you do have to be practically minded. I am moving on now and training in addition as an electrician which is again private and is gonna cost me approx £3k. If you need any advice please PM me. Where abouts in the country are you I can recomend some good training providers

p.s. I have just taken on my first apprentice

Please elaborate! :)

I hear so majy people saying 'start your own business in a trade and earn £50k+ easily' - will take me 10 years to get up to that as an electrnics designer! Are these claims true?

Private training huh? How long did it take? My issue would be no income during that training period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

You can retrain and start over to your hearts content. I've done it twice in my 30's. Just say the right things in interview, get in the company, then work your way to where you want to be.

Originally working in distribution, I decided I wanted something more creative. So trained to be an audio engineer, at significant cost. After another dead end job I got a break and joined an audio film and TV company. But after moving on to the BBC for a while, I decided I hated the media industry too :lol:

So from there I applied to join a major power company. A complete change of scene & profession. What's been demonstrated to me many times is that once you're in a big company, you can work your way up. I do a relatively unskilled job at present, but it's still very well paid. I've been offered the chance to move up and learn technical skills a few times. I can do that whenever I want.

So in essence my advice would be changing profession is easy enough. But you must be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up. In the context of the 30 odd years left of your working life, what is a few years at the bottom though?

Good luck. I despised office life too. Since breaking out of it my quality of life is so much better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would you believe it took a month, at a private training centre in Leeds. I cannot rate it highly enough. it was 20 days 9am till six pm, 10 days were practical/10 days theory. In reality I have added it to the skills I allready had and became a plumber/handyman and currently earn £10-12 per hour, which for me is not bad as i live up north. It is not a utopia definitely not anywhere near £50k per annum. I am becoming an electrician to earn a bit more but even then £20ph is the going rate here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did two 1 week courses at these private training places - one in plastering so I could plaster my house, and one in bricklaying so I could build a garage. They did not make me competent or professional by any means, but got me started.

At both places there were people working towards the GNVQs. It was something like 6 or 8 weeks solid work, but the training places were very flexible. They weren't in a class as such, but were given a bay to work in, so they learnt at their own pace. If they could only do weekends, then they only did weekends. Most people did 5 day weeks, but there was one guy who was doing 7 day weeks to get through the course as quickly as possible.

After all the training, you definitely aren't a time served tradesman, but it definitely gets you going.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But you must be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up. In the context of the 30 odd years left of your working life, what is a few years at the bottom though?

So many people have so many commitments that this is not possible without taking on more debt. And those of us in a financial position to do that still have the risk that you might do it, and then not like it and then they're back to square one and this time without the cushion that made it possible.

I'm not sure I could be supportive of someone doing this unless it was in a field that they already had experience/interest/a reasonable level of proficiency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go around in person and ask your local firms for a plumbers/carpenters/electricians mate work, you basically work along with the tradesman giving him a helping hand, try for a summer job and give it a go, if you show promise and if your keen and interested they will probably take you on and put you through an apprenticeship. A huge proportion of people now are just too ham fisted to be any use in a skilled trade environment, best try it an see, you might want to have a look into the finer trades, like furniture building, instrument building, french polishing, speaker building etc, hobbies for me, loads of satisfaction creating something that looks and sounds first class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did two 1 week courses at these private training places - one in plastering so I could plaster my house

I'd like to do something like this when I eventually get my own house. Don't intend to be a professional plasterer but it should pay for itself if you have a significant amount to do at home gives you another practical skill. I'm not exactly a competent DIYer but I do enjy bodging stuff around the house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I have been in a similar situation myself - A frustration at working in corporate office jobs where you don't have any tangible skills - your doing a bit of everything as opposed to specific skill set in an area, and therefore your only option is the next job.

and have casually thought about other options - the problem is with a trade in my opinion, don't we have lots of people from eastern europe, and a bad housing market, plus there are lots of other people in the industry, who are going to have all the contacts, skills already, and i'd bet you their not making a fortune, so what makes you think, you can do better. The other thing, are you good at DIY etc, working around the house, can you fix problems at home, surely it needs to be something have a natural desire or talent for.

I have considered being a software developer, as I have been involved in the project management/planning/corordination side with software projects - but then there are so many guys already in it, who have much more interest and talent, i'd just waste years getting up to speed with them and maybe not even like it that much, and earn more in the job I am doing.

So my issue with any career change is - there are probably lots of people already in any area not making a fortune - The key question what can you do differently or better than them?

Maybe see what experience you already have, and see if you can specialise in something from that, or build on that experience. I don't know, thats just my thoughts, maybe this is the wrong approach and it would be good to do something different????

Software developer-do it.

Your wise to consider all the angles- competition from E.Es etc but for all my careful planning in life I've found things can change at the drop of a hat and rarely if ever turn out how you expect.

At the end of the day I won't be happy working in an office or doing unskilled factory work so I need to do something else and the longer you leave it the harder it gets. I got stuck in a mind numbing factory job for 3 years in my late 20s and it's my biggest regret. I only stayed because the pay was 'good' but I considered many 'escapes' when I was there but 'over thought' each option far too much. Should have just left. Time is too precious to be doing something you hate. If you hate doing it how can you put in a good days work? I'm doing to do one of these part-time courses just to say I tried it /learn a new skill. It's not like we have big mortgages to worry about!! Often when you do these courses you make new contacts which can take you in new directions etc. Do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've known several people take up very different jobs or careers in their 30s, often involving self-employment. Like in the OP's situation, most of these had got stuck in dreadful office work that was both soul destroying and low paid - we're talking people in their 30s with degrees earning £10 or £11 an hour tops. Some were getting mild forms of mental illness diagnosed or otherwise due to the crapness of it all. It's pretty easy to as least match that kind of wage doing all sorts of things for yourself.

One route some friends took is complimentary therapies - some softer 'pampering' ones can be learned fairly quickly, like some forms of massage or aromatherapy, while the more advanced things like osteopathy take at least three years and are very involved. You can charge from £20-£50 an hour depending on what you're doing. So if you were earning £10 an hour in some dumb office job, you only need a moderately busy diary and you've broken even.

Another route is simply going freelance if you have any skills that lend themselves to this. Web design for very small business is something many people with an eye for design and a reasonably knowledge of the free CMSes can provide. Photography used to be a good way to go freelance if it was a serious hobby, although since digital has taken off there are too many chancers with a fancy camera running around, although as only 1% of these have any business or marketing skills there's still room if you're good and take it seriously. Freelance writing still has a market - it's hard to get into but once you're on a few magazines' contact lists the ball starts rolling.

Ebay/other onilne peddling can still make money but you have to pick your niches well and be unique. A friend had an online tshirt business - many of these are just 'me too' websites but his provided tshirts referencing obscure movies and bands that were pretty much the only ones available online. Each shirt had at least £10 margin so his sales of 'only' 100-200 a month was pretty good for a low-effort undertaking. Gone are the days when a crate of tat sourced from globalsources.com will make you money, though.

As for learning a 'trade' in your 30s, I don't know, especially if you're not handy. As another poster said there are courses out there in just about everything, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went from engineer to tree surgeon, via a bit of voluntary work, when I was 35. The voluntary stuff gave me a few practical skills and my first chainsaw ticket, and I paid for the basic tree work training myself, with the help of a few small grants. I'm self employed now, not climbing trees any more. It hasn't been the best move financially, and this year has been terrible, but it's been nice to enjoy work rather than dread it, and being self employed makes you more resourceful and adaptable, or else you fold.

If it taught me anything, it was that skills and experience in practical work are vastly underrated...by those that don't have them, which is now the majority in this country. When I started, I suffered from the illusion that it was simply a case of pass the right course, get the right piece of paper and away I went. How wrong I was! All the courses do is give you the basics, to stop you killing yourself within the first few weeks of employment. The real learning comes later, and it's hard won.

I think when I changed, it was a lot easier than it is now. Courses are now a lot more expensive than they were a few years ago, as any government help has been cut. Also, jobs in some areas are thin on the ground. I've just been doing a welding course as a backup, in case things get worse, but people half my age with twice the skills and experience struggle to find work.

Perhaps things are better in the construction trades, although I'd be wary of plumbing; the national shortage of good plumbers has been well covered for years now, so plenty of time to train lots of new entrants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A friend had an online tshirt business - many of these are just 'me too' websites but his provided tshirts referencing obscure movies and bands that were pretty much the only ones available online. Each shirt had at least £10 margin so his sales of 'only' 100-200 a month was pretty good for a low-effort undertaking.

I was thinking of doing just this; sticking to fairly obscure stuff - however if I put a photo of a band member or a quote from a movie or anyhting like that on a t shirt when I don't own the copyright, am I risking a whopping fine at some point?

Also, does your mate sell via eBay or have his own site? If he has his own site, he must be driving some serious traffic to it even to sell up to 200 t-shirts a month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Age is all in the mind...you can apply yourself at any age, and you can achieve what you want to achieve...I've heard of ppl retraining as network engineers in their mid 50's...

AFAIK, apprenticeships can take on anyone over 21, as they aren't allowed to discriminate on age grounds. As the retirement age is constantly moving upwards, and no job is for life any more, it is inevitable that you are not going to do the same type of job throughout your career...I've heard that 7 years is the average length that someone spends on any one career... A friend of mine retrained from being a qualified locksmith to a plumber...he just did a night course over the period of a year to get his basic certs, which he is now building on...

I think a base qualification can certainly help (for a technical route, having Maths / Physics can be a bonus)..It gives you more flexibility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did (sort of).

When I moved to Australia at the age of 34, it was my intention to continue in a "professional" career (sales and product management-type stuff, all sh!t really). I signed up with an agency as a landscape labourer, as a stop-gap. It was bloody hard work, but I really enjoyed it. I was placed with a company that was very poorly managed and needed someone with a bit of nous and a reasonable work ethic (both of these commodities are in very short supply in Australia, in my experience). I was quickly offered more and more responsibility, eventually running $multi-million construction projects. I contemplated studying for a formal qualification part-time at TAFE (college), but didn't have much time and I realised that I didn't need to know sub-species of plants when I could employ someone who did. Effectively I was getting paid a lot of money to swear at people, whilst working outdoors (not always a good thing at 40+C) and doing something tangible and vaguely creative. In the middle of all this, I did apply for a "professional" job with a large automotive company. In my interview with 2 pasty and overweight "execs" I was asked why on earth I would want to swap what I was doing for sitting in an office, clearly they were somewhat jealous - and I realised they were correct to be.

For various reasons, I chose to move on, back into office-based life - it was crap.

Since moving back to the UK, I have again been working in a semi-skilled, manual capacity, in another industry. However, this work dries up over the winter. Unfortunately the role I held in Sydney does not really exist here. Looking at "professional" alternatives reveals that the cupboard is fairly bare over here and looks like it may be so for some time, if not indefinitely - but now I am touching on another post on the main board.

As a consequence of all the above, I am looking at various options within the established and lesser-considered trades. I would add that, now in my 40s, the body does start to break down quite quickly, so would suggest that anyone looking to get into a highly physical trade in their 30s get on with it and try to move to a more supervisory position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.