Is 50 too late to start a new career in the UK?

Is 50 too late to start a new career in the UK?

Many people reach a point in their fifties where they crave a change. Perhaps you're no longer fulfilled by your current role, or maybe you've always had a dream of pursuing a different path. Whatever the reason, the question arises: is 50 too late to start a new career in the UK?

The answer is a resounding no! In today's ever-evolving job market, age is becoming less of a barrier and more of an asset. Here at Access Training, we help individuals of all ages find success in new careers.


  • Is 50 too late to start a new career?
  • What is a good second career for someone in their 50?
  • Which trade will suit better for students after 50?
  • Is it harder to get a job after 50?
  • Can I get an apprenticeship at 50?
  • Best retraining courses for over 50

What is a good second career for someone in their 50s?

The beauty of a career change in your fifties is the wealth of experience you bring to the table. Look for roles that leverage your transferable skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and time management. At Access, we have a number of students who retrained in their 50s and went on to build rewarding and secure careers in the trades. 

Why do people in their 50s choose to retrain in trades?

Many of our students who chose to retrain were in the 40s and 50s. And here's why:

  • Job Security: Skilled trades are essential for maintaining our infrastructure and keeping our homes functioning. With a skyrocketing demand for sustainable building practices, the need for qualified plumbers, electricians, and gas engineers is expected to remain high for years to come. 
  • Skills Shortage: There's a well-documented massive skills shortage in the trades across the UK. This means there are more job openings than qualified candidates, giving you a strong chance of finding employment after completing your training.
  • Variety: The trades offer a good mix of problem-solving, physical activity, and working with your hands. No two days are ever exactly alike, as you'll tackle a range of challenges and projects throughout your career.
  • Sense of helping others: Most of our students reported feeling the sense of making a difference to fellow humans. In essence, trades are about physically making people’s lives better, warmer, and more comfortable.

Is there a trade that's a better fit for people over 50?

While there's no single "best" trade for mature students, some factors might influence your decision:

Physical Demands. 

Consider the physical requirements of each trade. Plumbing and electrical work can involve bending, lifting, and working at heights, while gas engineering may require working in confined spaces.

Interests and Skills.

Think about your existing skills and interests. Do you enjoy working with intricate details, troubleshooting electrical systems, or installing complex gas appliances?

Lifestyle Preferences. 

Trades can offer flexible work schedules, but some roles may require evenings, weekends, or on-call hours.

Benefits of Each Trade:

  • Electricians:  In high demand for tasks like installing lighting systems, maintaining electrical grids, and troubleshooting electrical faults. Electricians can work in residential, commercial, or industrial settings. Also, there’s a growing demand for electrical car charger installations.
  • Plumbers:  Responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining plumbing systems in homes and buildings. This includes working with pipes, fixtures, drains, and water heaters.
  • Gas Engineers:  Install, maintain, and repair gas appliances and central heating systems. They ensure these systems function safely and efficiently.

Overall, a career in the trades offers a stable and rewarding path for individuals over 50. If you're looking for a hands-on profession with good job security and the chance to make a tangible difference, then a trade could be the perfect fit.

Is it harder to get a job after 50?

In many industries, it can be very hard to get a job in your 50s. Trades are more open to that because of an increasing demand for skilled tradespeople. More and more UK people are retraining in their 40s and 50s. In fact, plumbing is consistently ranked as one of the most "AI-proof" jobs available, as it requires critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to perform physical tasks that automation cannot replicate.

Can I get an apprenticeship at 50?

Yes, you can. But do you really have to? At Access we offer both earn while you learn options, as well as courses with a very flexible schedule. Most of our courses can be fitted into the schedule that includes full time work. This will help you retrain and pivot gradually, without having to make very abrupt changes. 

Best retraining courses for over 50.

To begin your journey in trades, you can start off our step-by-step Essential Electrical Course, Essential Plumbing Course, or Essential Gas Engineer Course.

Not sure where to start? Speak to our dedicated course advisors. Their task is to give you all the information you need to make the best choice.


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