Think your job is set in stone as soon as you become a dad? Granted, juggling a career change with raising kids can be a challenge — yet it’s far from impossible. It’s never too late to switch industries, find a role that’s more satisfying or set out on a new path. You just need to make a realistic plan for balancing family responsibilities with pursuing your professional goals.
So, let’s look at some expert insights from City Lit, the UK’s largest adult education college. Every day, the college helps parents to gain the skills needed to switch careers, via online and in-person courses. Here Simon Goodier, Head of School for Skills, Employability and Wellbeing at City Lit, shares five top tips for how dads can make the change successfully.
Before diving headfirst into a career switch, you need to work out why you’re feeling dissatisfied with your current job. After all, changing industries isn’t simply about finding a new position – it is a pivotal life decision.
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then perhaps it’s the right time for a career change:
But before you go any further, think about whether you might benefit from a new role instead of a completely new career. Consider the following questions before making your decision:
Understanding your reasons for wanting a change will guide you to the right decision. It will also help you to align your career shift with both your family’s needs and your aspirations.
If you haven’t fully identified the best new career for you then take stock of your abilities and write down what you’re good at, for instance:
Don’t forget that as a father, your life experience can hold immense value. For instance, the patience and time management skills that dads need every day can be carried over into a variety of professional roles.
Also, bear in mind that when you switch careers, you might start slightly further down the ladder than your current position. But your varied experience compared with some of your peers will also be valued by employers.
If you have sussed out which career you want to pursue then that’s half the battle. Now it’s time to fill in any knowledge gaps you might have before embarking into a new area.
Putting a strategic skills development plan in place will equip you to make a change while balancing other priorities.
Real-world experience is still the best way to familiarise yourself with a new industry. There are several ways you can gain this, including:
You could also take a training course that offers workplace experience in your chosen field. You might want to look into accredited vocational courses led by industry professionals and that have a practical workplace experience element. This could give you the confidence boost needed to make a career change.
Connecting with peers and professionals can be instrumental when changing careers. Make sure to stay connected and interact with people in your network regularly – you never know who might help you out. And one day, you might even be in a position to open doors for others.
Local networking events can be a great way to meet new people and build your contact book. Don’t be afraid to reach out to like-minded individuals and ask them out for a coffee. The worst thing someone can say is “no”.
If you’ve not yet established a network in your new industry or don’t know where to start, then there are steps you can take. Again, further education colleges are great places to meet new people who might end up being valuable connections.
Changing careers can feel daunting, especially when you’re a busy dad. But once you start seeing it as a series of strategic steps rather than one giant leap, you can steer yourself towards a job that you love.
Based in central London, City Lit offers career-boosting courses, online and classroom based, on a wide range of topics, including writing, business and technology. Ofsted inspectors rated City Lit as Outstanding in 2023.
Many of our courses take place in the evenings and online, making it easier for dads to develop their skills while working full-time.
Ready to take your next step? Browse our wide variety of career development courses