Apprenticeships begin at 40

It is common knowledge that apprenticeships are an alternative route into higher education for young people. But what if we told you that this was one of the biggest myths surrounding apprenticeships in our lifetime? There is no upper age limit to becoming an apprentice. We are seeing a trend toward the over 40s (mid-lifers) opting for an apprenticeship to further their knowledge and skills or facilitate a career change. 

The BIG Career Change

The new year is the perfect time to assess where you are in life, including your career, and then set goals and make changes towards the things you are passionate about. We typically see this with the ‘new year, new me’ trend across social media with millions of people discussing what they will do differently in the year ahead or what they hope to achieve, however more and more people are taking the meaning of this seriously. 


We saw two million people find a new job in 2021, known as the “Great Resignation”, where workers reassessed their post-Covid career options to find something more meaningful, that offered better pay and benefits or contributed to the maintenance of their wellbeing.1 The Great Resignation has given people hope and belief that they could do something different that more closely aligned with their passions and values and there is no sign of it slowing down. So, is now the right time for a career change? 


The average age that someone opts for a career change is 39.2 This could be due to the fact that midlifers are in a more secure financial position to take time out and they may have more flexibility to make a big switch. Equally, they may have reached a position in their industry where they have exhausted the right options or pay level for them and feel a change is required. We also need to consider that people live longer, work longer, and retire at a much later age. Data from Willis Towers Watson, found that almost a third of workers now expect to be employed after their 70th birthday.3 Our working lives are becoming extended providing further reason to try something new. 


It is interesting then, that the average worker takes 11 months to consider a career change before making a decision, as they research what they would need to be successful in a new industry or job role including the required skills or training. This demonstrates a commitment to analysing the risk involved in a career change and putting in assurances that it is the right decision for the individual. This is a very smart move. 

The role of re-training

When someone retrains later in their career, they are typically more committed because of the significant risk they have taken – almost a leap of faith into the unknown. The Career Change Survey from ‘FindCourses’ found that a vast majority (89%) of respondents recognised they needed to learn something new to change careers; however, 27% of those were unwilling to invest their own money to learn the right skills.4 This could also be impacted by different budgetary resources available at the time. 


This disconnect between the number of people looking for new opportunities and a need to learn new skills but a lack of available funds provides the perfect opportunity for apprenticeship training providers and individuals to come together. For example, suppose an individual was to enrol in an apprenticeship programme. In that case, they will learn the new skills required to succeed in the role and be paid to do so, mitigating the challenge around available funding for training—a win-win situation for all. 

Re-training in marketing

For individuals considering a jump into marketing, there is even more hope. At the end of 2021, Marketing Week shared an article highlighting how marketing’s digital skills gap could become ‘unmanageable’ as proficiency across the industry declines.5 The Chartered Institute for Marketing (CIM) research found that marketers’ abilities in vital digital skills have stagnated or declined between 2020 and 2021 at all levels of seniority. CIM’s director of marketing, Gemma Butler, said: “The risk of getting left behind needs to be highlighted on the basis that technology isn’t going to wait and the need to continue upskilling is at a critical point”. 


Given this existing skills gap across all seniorities, there is a clear role for digital marketing apprenticeship programmes to help people currently working in marketing to upskill and retrain, or indeed those making a bold career change to earn a qualification to aid them on their journey.  

Marketing apprenticeships for over 40s

The marketing industry is ripe for new talent, and expertise and midlifers could be the key to closing this gap. Not only will they bring their existing soft skills into our industry, but we also welcome diversity of experience and thought to make marketing the most inclusive it can be. Age should not be a factor holding you back! 


If you’ve been on the edge of thinking about a possible career change, but haven’t yet made the next step, then why not make 2022 the year of change! Prove that age is just a number, and join us on our Digital Marketing Apprenticeship Programme to learn the latest digital skills that will export you into the future.


(Are you a LEARNER looking to start an apprenticeship?) Follow this link:

(Are you an EMPLOYER looking to upskill your team members?) Follow this link:


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