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If you are thinking of changing careers or have been out of work for a while, you may need new skills or qualifications to show skills you already have.

You may also need to improve the basic skills that employers will be looking for, such as written English, maths or computer skills.


You may think that apprenticeships are just for younger people, but they can be a good way of getting into a new career, and they are becoming more popular with workers aged over 50.

Apprenticeships are about learning on the job with additional study towards a related qualification. You work alongside experienced colleagues, and get paid too. It’s a good option if you can’t afford to take time out of paid work to change career or learn a new trade.

Different levels of apprenticeship will give you different types of qualification. Some apprenticeships can even lead to a foundation degree.

Apprenticeships can last from one to four years. You can find them in a varied and interesting range of professions, including:

  • Horticulture
  • Cooking
  • Business administration
  • Engineering
  • Estate agency
  • Childcare
  • Customer service
  • Carpentry
  • Website development

To find an apprenticeship, go to the Apprenticeship search website. There you can type in what you are looking for and search by area.

Getting advice on changing careers

If you are a member of a union, ask if they have a Learning Representative who can guide you through your options for training or gaining new qualifications. This could be training in the workplace, or at a local college or training centre.

The TUC’s UnionLearn website has information on learning opportunities 

The National Careers Service has lots of advice on careers and learning. You can also call them on 0800 100 900 (freephone) for free personalised careers advice and guidance. 

Some local Age UKs also run projects to help people get into work. If not, they may still be able to direct you to a relevant organisation.

Find your local Age UK

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081