One of the big regrets of my life is not going to university and getting a degree. I kept putting it off and before I knew it I had a husband and a mortgage! It most definitely restricted me in my working life. I went into magazine publishing but found it difficult to move on as everyone wanted a graduate, even though I had experience. Later, when I had children, I wanted to become a teacher, but 4 years of study wasn’t financially viable. If I had got a degree it would have been just a year.
I did feel the benefit of study later though. I became a yoga teacher which was a useful source of income when my children were small (and also proved to be the saviour of my sanity!). When I struggled to find an office job I enrolled in the ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) with my local Learning Shop and started getting interviews straight away. I got a part time job with the local council which eventually led to the job I have now.
I really believe that, to improve your chances of getting the best possible career and giving yourself more options and choices, you need to get trained and qualified.
But if you have little money, what to do? If you are unemployed or on a low income the first place to go is your local learning shop (most towns have them). They will tell you about all the courses available to you, many of which will be at a hugely reduced cost and some could even be free. They tend to focus on English, maths, IT and employability skills and can also give careers advice.
You should also check out your local adult education centre. These are great for vocational courses such as hairdressing, beauty and complementary therapies. These are very expensive normally (£1000 plus) but a fraction of the full price if you are on a qualifying benefit.
There are also loads of free courses online. Just google it. For example, I have been exploring www.futurelearn.com, where I can learn Dutch, how to start a business or – a great one for this blog – Financial Planning and Budgeting. I have sent my daughter this site as they have useful looking courses on cv writing, applying for jobs and interview techniques.
Older people can explore the University of the Third Age which offers subjects as diverse as history, yoga and singing. The members share their hobbies and skills and become teachers as well as learners, not for qualification but just for fun.
I now take as many opportunities to learn as I can, and encourage my daughters to get all qualifications possible. Do you do any learning and how has it benefitted you?