Different people have different motivations, and these can change throughout your life as your lifestyle changes. When you were younger, you may have been driven by ideas of earning a fat salary and driving a big car, but priorities change over time. Perhaps having children has given you a different perspective on life and made you think about a different kind of career? Many parents decide that if they are going to leave their children for work, they want whatever they do to be worthwhile. Some people find that looking after their young children allows them to express a more nurturing side that they would like to use in the workplace too. Perhaps it’s time to consider working in one of the caring professions? If the idea does appeal, how would you get started?
Teaching is renowned as a challenging profession, demanding both emotionally and physically. Long hours spent controlling rowdy teenagers can be part of the picture, but teaching is also a profession that can be extremely satisfying. Great teachers can change the lives of pupils for the better. Teachers will need degree-level qualifications in their chosen subject and usually a further teaching qualification. There is a move now to encourage mature people who already have life and career experiences to enter teaching through schemes like Now Teach.
If the idea of doing a degree or higher-level qualification puts you off, you could also train as a teaching assistant. Teaching assistants do require qualifications, but they are less demanding as TAs have less responsibility in the classroom than teachers. This role often involves working very closely with a particular child and can be just as rewarding as working as a qualified teacher.
Nursing is a great career that allows you to specialize in various areas as diverse as community nursing and high dependency nursing, and everything in between. If you enjoy learning new skills and dealing with people of all ages, then this could be the career for you. Entrants to the profession usually complete a degree course in nursing, but you may find that your previous qualifications, a science degree, for example, can allow exemption from some parts of the course.
Trained carers work with adults in many different settings, including residential care, daycare, and clients’ own homes. This role requires the personal qualities of patience, humor, and compassion and is very rewarding as care work is vital to the happiness of the people being cared for. You would need qualifications to become a carer, and an excellent place to begin would be with a Health and Social Care Level 2 Apprenticeship.
Another appealing aspect of all the above careers for parents of young children is that they are usually flexible in terms of hours and working conditions. Obviously, teachers and teaching assistants have school holidays that they can spend with their own children. Nurses and carers are in such demand that part-time and shift patterns that fit in with your own family life are often available.