Starting over can bring fresh opportunities

Retrain? It’s never too late.

There has been a great deal of commentary across the media in recent months about what is now referred to as the skills gap currently existing in our economy. Various reports have highlighted the problems employers face when trying to fill certain roles.

A recent report published by Accenture lists areas such as IT, science, engineering, maths, and business management as the key disciplines where there is a glaring shortage of qualified candidates.

The previous economic boom in this country encouraged and channelled a huge amount of people into studying for a career related to the construction industry. These same people are now struggling to gain employment due to the downturn.

For some, this, in itself, could present an ideal opportunity to consider a change in direction and plan for a new career. If this applies to you, why not ask yourself the following question:

“Would I like a new challenge which could offer me new career opportunities in a different sector?”

If you answer yes, then you should really consider the possibility of retraining with a view towards a new career. A carpenter, bricklayer, electrician, or plumber may struggle to secure consistent work within the current construction sector: however, a recently-qualified software developer, Java script writer, digital marketer, or business graduate may have a much better chance of gaining permanent employment.

I’m not suggesting that construction-related skills and qualifications should be forgotten about completely - indeed, there is evidence of growth in the construction sector - but the prospect of a return to previous levels of employment in this sector is rated as highly unlikely by expert commentators.

Retraining or re-skilling isn’t as daunting a task as you may think. Third-level institutions have adapted some of their programmes to facilitate mature students who wish to gain a new skill or qualification.

People in receipt of social welfare payments can study fulltime and retain their payment. Read more on this on the FAQ section of Welfare.ie here goo.gl/oj7uts

The Springboard programme (goo.gl/Uys8TB ) is specifically designed to help job-seekers retrain and re-skill with a view to starting a new career. These courses are offered free to job-seekers who meet certain criteria and they are well worth exploring.

Currently there are quite a few opportunities out there for people to work in what has become known as the “new economy”.

Ask yourself, are you ready for a new challenge?

Would you like to start a new career?

Would you like to gain new skills or qualifications?

Are there areas of work you would like to have explored years ago, but didn’t for whatever reason?

If you find yourself saying yes to some of these, then maybe it’s the right time to think about retraining.

Of course, it is important not to become a square peg in a round hole. You must have an aptitude for the career you choose – and, perhaps most importantly of all, a genuine interest in it, if not love. When you work in a sector that really grips you, you are more likely to be successful because you will naturally explore new innovations and approaches in the sector.

Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) have offices in Athlone (090 ) 6403003, Galway, Mayo (Crossmolina and Ballinrobe ), Dublin, and Limerick. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, job-searching strategies, and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/athlone

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