Your 60s can be an exciting time to make a career change. By now you’ll have a wealth of skills and life experience behind you, which makes you an attractive proposition to many employers.
According to our recent analysis, in 2019 82% of the UK’s employment growth was fuelled by the over 50s. So it’s unsurprising that we often hear from members who have used retirement as an opportunity to change direction, rather than slow down.
Changing careers in your 60s can have many benefits, including the chance to learn some new skills, meet some new people and earn a living doing something that you genuinely enjoy.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, then take a look at this list of 10 career change ideas for the over 60s.
If you’d like to work with all things bright and beautiful, then you could consider becoming a Florist. Floral arrangements are associated with a number of life events and the scale of what people can ask for will vary. One day you could be creating personalised bouquets for birthdays or anniversaries, and the next you could be creating a large-scale floral display for a wedding or an exhibition. Whatever floral arrangement you’re asked to come up with, it’s likely that your work will help to make an occasion much more memorable!
Florists are experts on flower arranging but also have a strong knowledge of different plants and flowers and how to store them. One of the best ways to get started is to apply for a job as a trainee or an apprentice with a local flower company. Or, you could consider taking an accredited distance-learning course, which will teach you all the essential skills and knowledge needed to set up your own shop or flower stall.
Ready to grow a career in floristry?
2. Patient Transport Driver
Do you love being behind the wheel? Are you passionate about making a difference to others in your community? Patient Transport Drivers step in to help non-emergency patients get to and from the hospital for treatment. Many of us take for granted that we can get to our own hospital appointments, as not everyone can. But by buckling up and working as a Patient Transport Driver for a few hours a week, you could make a significant improvement to people’s lives.
Patient transport is a person-centred role which is about more than just driving. You will also be looking after the safety and comfort of your passengers, and trying to make them smile wherever possible!
Shifts are often varied because people can require transport to and from hospital anytime from early morning to late evening on any given day of the week. If you’re looking for a flexible role where no two days are ever the same, then this could be for you!
Rest Less member, Kim, left her high-powered job to become a Patient Transport Driver. Find out how she got on…
Or want to start applying for roles?
Is number-crunching your thing? For the organised individual who enjoys working with numbers, Bookkeeping can make for an interesting career change. Bookkeepers help companies track their finances by keeping a detailed record of their incoming and outcoming payments. They also produce financial statements and reports. It’s commonplace for people to confuse Bookkeepers with Accountants, but simply put, bookkeeping deals with the accurate recording of financial information, whereas accountancy involves analysing and interpreting it.
To become a licenced Bookkeeper, you don’t need a degree, but you’ll need to gain the AAT Level 2 and Level 3 Bookkeeping qualifications. To find out more you can visit our full guide on how to become a Bookkeeper.
4. Dog Groomer
Would you love to combine your creativity with your love of four-legged furry friends? Dog Grooming can be a fun and varied career, where you’ll be working with dogs of all sizes, coat types and temperaments – providing a full range of grooming services from washing, brushing, drying and trimming, through to ear/teeth cleaning and nail clipping. There’s plenty to learn about each dog breed (and each dog personality!), so they’ll still be plenty to learn long after your initial training is over.
Some Dog Groomers work in a salon as part of a team whilst others prefer to work alone and set up their services on a self-employed basis – often grooming dogs in their own home. To find out how to start giving dogs the paw-fect look, you can read our full guide on becoming a Dog Groomer.
5. Funeral Arranger
Can you keep calm under pressure? Would you love the opportunity to be there for others when they need you the most? If you’ve answered yes, then perhaps you could retrain as a Funeral Arranger.
Working within a close-knit team, Funeral Arrangers are often the first point of contact for friends and/or family of the deceased. They start by establishing and understanding their needs and wishes, so that they can plan the funeral accordingly. They also provide emotional support for grieving friends and family members throughout the entire process. Keen to know more?
Have you ever thought about becoming a Counsellor? If you enjoy being a source of support for friends and family when things get tough, then counselling could be a rewarding career choice.
Counsellors offer individuals, couples or families, a safe and non-judge place to open up and get things off their chest. The aim is to help people explore issues in their lives, so they can work towards resolving them. These issues are often wide-ranging. Some people may want to work on resolving problems within their marriage, whilst others may be struggling with feelings related to a particularly traumatic experience.
There isn’t a set route to becoming a Counsellor, but the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) do have a recommended route for people wanting to enter the profession. This typically starts with taking an introductory course to counselling. Our full guide on how to become a Counsellor provides full details on how to get started.
7. Jobs in government
If you’re not considering a run for public office, but would still be interested in working for the public sector, then it’s worth looking at what government jobs are available. The civil service and local government organisations welcome applications from older people, and there are a variety of career options available.
Whether you fancy becoming a planning, building control or environmental health officer, it’s never too late to try something new. It’s also worth noting that there are plenty of jobs in government where life experience can be particularly helpful, such as social and civic roles.
Would you love the opportunity to brighten up someone else’s day? Carers work on a “visiting” or “live-in” basis, helping people to have a better quality of life. The way they do this can vary – some clients may need help with washing, dressing and eating, whilst others may need help with getting to and from social engagements or hospital appointments.
If this sort of hands-on role isn’t for you, but you’d still like to help others then there are plenty of other social care roles which may be of interest. Care home managers, occupational therapists and bereavement support coordinators (plus many more) are all roles that it could be useful to look in to.
9. Set up your own business
If you’ve got an idea or a hobby that has the potential to earn you a living, then why not consider whether you could go it alone and set up your own business? Self-employment has a lot to offer in terms of freedom, flexibility and variety, and most people who do it, say that they enjoy having greater control over their own future.
There’s plenty of support available in the UK for those who want to start their own business. If you’d like to learn more, you could start by reading some expert advice on starting a business on the government website. Our articles 20 self-employment ideas for the over 50s or Business ideas that you can start from home may also give you some helpful ideas.
Working with kids can be a great way to escape the seriousness of everyday adult life. Children see everything in black and white, and their days are often filled with cartoons, potato smiley faces and fancy dress! Being around them can help you to reconnect with your own inner child, which can offer a fresh perspective on life.
If you think childcare could be a suitable fit for you, then why not look into becoming a Nanny or a Childminder? Hours are usually flexible and responsibilities can include anything from helping children with homework through to cooking them dinner whilst their parent(s)/carer(s) are away or at work.
Childminders will typically look after children in their own home with parents dropping off and picking up children at agreed times. To get started you’ll need to have a clean full UK driving licence and an Ofsted DBS certificate. Then you can usually start landing clients by advertising yourself as a childminder or babysitter on childcare websites like Childcare.co.uk; so local families can get in touch.
Nannies on the other hand, usually work in children’s own homes on a live-in or live-out basis, which may be determined by whether the role is full or part-time. If you live in London, then it’s worth checking out nanny agency, Koru Kids. They take on Nannies of all ages and offer them full training (including First Aid), before placing them with a suitable family.
How do I get started?
We hope that this article has been helpful in providing you with a few new ideas! You might now be wondering how you can start taking steps towards your next venture. You may find the following suggestions useful for this:
- Spend some time considering which career or job you’d like to set your sights on.
- Research is key – you should do as much as you can about the industry that you’d like to work in.
- Think about the financial impact and associated consequences of making a career change.
- Make use of your existing network. Get in touch with anyone who works in the role or industry that you’re interested in, as they may be able to offer you tips and advice on how to get started.
- Identify your strengths and transferable skills.
- Work on your CV and cover letter to highlight the skills most relevant to your new career path. Our CV writing tips or cover letter writing tips can offer you some help with this.
- If you’re interested in applying for a professional role, then create a LinkedIn profile. Employers will often search for your profile before they decide whether or not to invite you to interview. Having a LinkedIn profile can help show potential employers that you’re tech savvy and up to date with current trends. Our handy guide will show you how to maximise your LinkedIn profile.
- Update your skills or learn new ones.
- Start applying for jobs!
For more job search tips, check out our article, How to find a job in your 50s and 60s.
If you’re thinking about trying something new then you might be feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement. But some of the best things in life will often happen outside of your comfort zone – and with many active years ahead of you, it’s never too late to discover a rewarding new job or career.
It’s important to remember that the skills and experience that you’ve built up over the years will stand you in good stead for your next opportunity.
Have you recently made a career change? What are your reasons for working into retirement? Share your experiences on the Rest Less community forum – or leave a comment below.