Our training, your way

Too old for a career change? That’s what you think.

What do you think of when you think of an Apprentice? Maybe someone young, or someone in their first job? Well, you’d be correct. The majority of Apprentices in the UK are aged 16-24, but that doesn’t mean that employers and Apprenticeship providers aren’t looking to take on and train people of all ages.

With an ageing population and the age requirements for retirement increasing with every generation, people are now working longer than ever before. The current state pension age is 63 for women and 65 for men, with the former due to rise steadily until all workers retire at 65 by 2018.

More than 44,000 workers over 45 took Apprenticeships in 2013/2014. While this is only 10% of all Apprenticeships, its impressive compared to the 300 older Apprentices that were taken on 10 years prior, and the number is even higher today.

If you are looking to change careers but are worried about finding training and having qualifications, don’t worry! There will be employers who are on the lookout for an older person to train for a lot of reasons. Here are a few of them.


Across all sectors and roles, there are transferrable skills and mannerisms that can only be gained by being in a workplace. So even if you are completely changing the sector you work in, experience in a work environment is priceless. The more time you’ve had over the years makes you all, the more appealing to an employer. Also, because they’ve been in a workplace for longer, older employees will tend to have a stronger work ethic compared to school leavers which are invaluable to the employer.


Even at 40 to 50 years of age, people still have another 25 years of work. Someone of 16-24 years of age may not know where they will be in 5 years’ time unlike someone older who, even when switching career, are most likely to have a much sturdier plan which gives the employer a sense of security that the employee isn’t going to disappear after completion of the Apprenticeship since they’ll most likely want to settle.

In the role

In some sectors, a customer may be more comfortable talking with someone of a similar age. They have an ability to relate a lot more to the customer than a younger person can since they understand their life and commitments. They understand the customer’s priorities better since they might have been in a similar situation themselves! For example, an older person working in a customer service role could be a lot more helpful to a customer because they have to make the exact same phone calls themselves and they can relate to what the customer is going through. That’s experience a younger one won’t have. They’re life skills.

Our Case Studies:

We have helped many people begin, and change their careers over the years. Here are just a couple of our success stories.

Kelly Ellis

28-year-old Kelly began her career in retail straight from school, working for Matalan as a retail assistant then progressing into food retail with various positions in Sainsbury’s and McDonald's.  She really enjoyed the customer-facing elements of her roles and was promoted to supervisor level positions, which gave her valuable experience in customer care and managing people. One of Kelly’s managers suggested that maybe she’d like to consider training in childcare as she saw great potential in her. Kelly opted for the Apprenticeship route and assessed that a career in childcare was definitely for her.

Mali Brown

Mali worked at McDonald's and soon discovered that she excelled in Customer Service and began exploring how she could progress a career in this specialism. While researching online Mali read about the Paragon Skills NVQ in Customer Service and made contact. Mali now aged 22, started her role as a Client Support Coordinator, completing her NVQ level 2 and 3 in Customer Service in 2016 with an immediate promotion to Client Services Executive.

Leah Meredith

Leah found that studying full time was not allowing her to reach her potential. After speaking to one of her friends about the alternatives to full-time education she realised that an Apprenticeship could be the perfect way for her to gain skills and confidence in the job market. Before beginning her Apprenticeship with Paragon Skills, Leah was completely unsure of what career path she wanted to pursue. However, with a flexible Apprenticeship like Business Administration, Leah was able to start learning transferable skills while keeping all her options open.

Your future

If you are considering a change in career or are looking to achieve some nationally recognised qualifications but not sure what sector to expand your career into, take a look at our other news stories that may help you make a decision:

What type of Apprenticeship is right for you?

Which career path matches your learning style?

Is an Apprenticeship right for me?

If you are interested in learning whilst you are earning a salary, gaining valuable work experience and nationally recognised qualifications, then have a look at our Apprenticeship Vacancies and see what opportunities are available in your area. Also, find out more about the type of Apprenticeship training available.

For any questions you might have please contact us on 0800 783 2545, talk to our customer service using the live chat service, or send us an email at enquiries@pgon.co.uk.