Think it’s too late for a career change? Think again!

When thinking of an apprentice, many will picture someone young, in their first job at a junior level. Whilst this is true and many thousands of school leavers this summer will get their first taste of work with an apprenticeship, the number of those starting an apprenticeship later in life is high.

In 2017/18, 41% of the apprenticeships started were by people over the age of 24 and a further 30% were started by those aged between 19 and 24, meaning that 71% of apprenticeships were started by people aged 19 or over.*
And these starts weren’t just entry level roles, in fact, apprenticeship starts were more likely to be at a higher level in 2017/18 as 44% of apprenticeships started that academic year were at advanced level, with a further 13% started at higher level.*

In simple terms employers and workers are both seeing the benefits of apprenticeships. So, if you are looking to change careers but are worried about re-training and needing new qualifications, don’t worry! There will be employers – offering a range of apprenticeships – who are looking for a more experienced person for a number of reasons.

Here are a just few of them.

Work Experience
Across all sectors and roles, there are transferrable skills, behaviours and attitudes that can only be gained from actual work experience. So even if your career change is to a completely new sector your previous experience in a work environment is priceless. Also, because a more experienced employee has been in work longer, they tend not to need as much support as a school leaver starting their first ever role.

Future prospects
At 40 or even 50 years of age, people potentially still have more than 20 years left to work. Someone at 16 may not know where they will be in five years’ time, while someone older who, after switching career, is more likely to have a far clearer and more robust career plan, gives an employer a greater sense of security that the employee wants to stick around and isn’t going to disappear after they achieve their apprenticeship.

In the role
In some sectors, a customer may be more comfortable talking to someone with more experience. They have an ability to relate to a customer’s needs based on their previous experiences. They understand the customer’s priorities better since they might have dealt with it before or might have been in a similar situation themselves. This life experience can be an invaluable asset to an employer.

Apprenticeships after University
If you want to enter a sector different from your degree or college course, you may also like to know that graduates -and college leavers alike- aren’t only progressing onto higher level apprenticeships. With eligibility rules relaxed in 2017, and new apprenticeship standards being focused on specific job roles, many with a non-relevant qualification are undertaking apprenticeships to equip themselves with the necessary knowledge or practical skills to perform in a role that their degree simply didn’t provide them. In this way they feel more work ready.

.*Apprenticeship Statistics: England, briefing paper Feb 19

For more information on current apprenticeship opportunities visit