Q: What do I need to consider if I want to access training for a different career?
A: There are many times in our lives when we come to a crossroads where we consider taking a different path. Whether this happens as a result of an unexpected job loss, a change in family circumstances, a health issue, or any other reason, there are numerous factors to consider to ensure the next step is not only sensible, but will also ensure financial well-being.
It is important to consider what types of jobs are currently in demand when looking at training options. Simply put, you will want to ensure that there will be jobs available in your new field when you graduate. It would not be wise to invest your time and money into training that is obsolete or not in demand. It is easy to determine what type of jobs and training are in demand – simply take a look at the local job search websites to look at trends and what education is required. Another tool that is helpful can be found on the Service Canada Job Bank website: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/trend-analysis In demand jobs are not always in demand everywhere, so if you want to stay put in a particular geographic region (or move to another one), ensure that the jobs are available in that region before you embark upon training.
One mistake that people often make when considering training is that they only consider what is in demand, and don’t look at other factors. While being in demand is critical, so are other aspects that should not be set aside when thinking about next steps. These include both your lifestyle and your interests. Personal Support Workers and other health care professionals, for example, may currently be in high demand (especially during a pandemic); however, if you are a germophobe, these jobs may not be a good fit. Driving jobs are also in demand; however, if you are not interested in being away from home for a long period of time, or are unable to cross the border, this may limit your success in the field at first. Single parents may not be as interested in jobs that involve a lot of evening or weekend work, and these jobs may not complement their family’s lifestyle. Tech-related jobs are in very high demand, but if you are not interested in being a lifelong learner and constantly developing your skills and knowledge, these jobs may not suit you. If you have a previous workplace injury (for example, carpal tunnel from years of working in manufacturing), office administration may not be a good decision as you could aggravate your injury through repetitive strain. Many times, I have seen the results of clients investing time, money, and energy into a training program that was in demand, only to discover it was not an ideal fit for their interests, lifestyle or family circumstances. In many cases, these individuals had to start all over again and consider a different route altogether, causing financial stress and delay in finding that perfect career path.
There are many resources to help you determine the best fit for your interests, values and personality. Interest assessments can be found online and can also be accessed through employment counselling services, and there are numerous quizzes available for free on the internet that can help to point you in the right direction.
Informational interviews are an invaluable tool for determining fit before moving forward with education. Informational interviews allow you the opportunity to interview someone in your prospective field to get a realistic idea of what life is really like in that field. These experiences are so helpful in uncovering things that are often not made public online. They are also an excellent networking opportunity. Your local employment agency may be able to help you connect with individuals willing to provide you with an informational interview, or you may be able to set one up yourself through your own contacts.
Finally, talking to your family and friends can be so valuable in helping you see aspects to your personality that perhaps you have not fully realized or recognized. Often they will have great insight into what career matches you best, based on many years of knowing you, your strengths and your weaknesses. Employment counsellors can help to guide you, but family and friends have the benefit of knowing you for decades, so their opinions cannot be discounted.
Undertaking a career change and retraining at any point in your life is a big step that needs to be taken seriously and be given a great deal of thought and care. Try using the above tips to consider your next move: demand, location, interests, lifestyle, and personality. An employment counsellor will be happy to guide you towards success in the next step of your journey.
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