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Best jobs to retrain for at 50

Starting a new career when you're nearing 50 can feel a little scary. Mainly because other colleagues start retiring. Here are the exciting opportunities to consider.

Considering a career change at 50? What a great idea, especially if you’re looking for a new challenge!

It’s never too late to upskill, and retraining at 50 can be hugely rewarding.

Whether you’ve got some earlier trade experience, or you’re looking to learn on the way, this guide is for you.

This guide covers the best jobs to retrain for at 50 and more helpful advice.

Making a career change at 50

The best jobs to retrain for at 50 are ones that involve learning a new trade.

And there are countless opportunities for qualified tradespeople in the UK right now.

Retraining courses for the over 50s are widely available. So, don’t worry – there are plenty of opportunities out there to consider.

Building surveying

Starting a surveying business is a great option for those who’ve worked in an engineering field before.

And those with no experience will enjoy building surveying jobs, too.

Tradespeople in this field inspect all visible and accessible parts of a building.

This includes roofs, walls, floors, windows and doors, chimneys, garages, basements and outbuildings.

Building surveyors give clients advice on the structural integrity of a build. Also, they’ll make suggestions for potential improvements.

Retraining at 50: The benefits of a building surveyor

  • The work is not desk-bound, so you’ll be on-site and not tied to your screen
  • This role is very varied and no two days are the same
  • Graduate building surveyors can expect to earn around £22,000-£26,000 per year.
  • With a few years’ experience, you’ll earn in the region of £28,000-£50,000 per year. At a senior level, this can increase to £70,000 or more

Training needed for building surveying for the over 50s

The quickest way to become a building surveyor is to study for a building surveying undergraduate degree.

And one that’s been approved by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Or the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

In total, this would take just three years to study (full-time).

You can also move into this field by studying for a building surveying postgraduate ‘conversion course’.

This also needs to be approved by RICS and/or the CIOB and can last either nine months or a year full-time.

This will just depend on the type of qualification.

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Building apprenticeships

There are building surveying apprenticeships available, too.

Many of these apprenticeships are organised through the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust:

You’ll typically work towards a professional qualification known as a chartership, awarded by RICS.

Looking for an entry-level job instead? Just apply for a building surveying technician job, with a higher national diploma (HND).

Retraining as a carpenter

Carpenters are always in demand. So, you’ll have no problem finding paid work in this field once you’re qualified.

The benefits

  • You can start your own carpentry business and become your own boss
  • More flexible working hours
  • A satisfying career where you’ll see your designs come to life
  • Great personal and professional development opportunities

Carpenter uk made furniture

What’s needed to retrain at 50 for a carpentry job?

Fast-track training courses help you learn the skills and gain the essential qualifications required to become a carpenter.

And all of this in just a few weeks. So, you can bypass the traditional college course route!

You’ll just need to:

  • Be good with your hands and comfortable using different tools
  • Pay up-front costs needed for machinery, tools, and workshop space

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Retraining as an electrician

Retraining at 50 to become an electrician is a worthwhile move. There’s lots of earning potential. Plus, it’s usually not as physical as other trades.


  • Flexibility – with the current skills shortage, it’s possible to find work as an electrician virtually anywhere in the UK
  • Be your own boss – qualified electricians can pick up jobs suited to them
  • Great trade for starting up your own electrician business

Qualifications needed to become an electrician

Training as an electrician can take up to three years. This is because it requires studying in college and undertaking an apprenticeship to qualify.

But now there are courses available that are designed to get you qualified in as little as six months.

Once you’ve been trained online and gained experience, you’ll do a final assessment.

If (or when) you pass, you’ll be able to legally trade as an electrician. Then, you can start working on a wide range of projects.

Retraining at 50 to become an electrician

Retraining as a plumber

Plumbing is a common profession to retrain for at 50. And the potential earnings have a lot to do with this!

Like electricians, this trade is always in demand and there’s the opportunity to work on some impressive projects.

The benefits

What experience or qualifications are needed to retrain as a plumber?

There are two main entry routes to retrain in your 50s as a plumber:

  • Become a plumber’s mate
  • Complete a fast-track plumbing course

It’s best to retrain through a course, though. This way, you can increase your earning potential and land a job quickly.

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Retraining as a gas engineer

Gas engineering is a highly rewarding profession with excellent career prospects. And it’s a good career change for over 50s.

Working with gas requires training beforehand. But once you’ve passed, you’ll be an approved engineer in high demand.

Plumbers often retrain in their 50s as gas engineers. This is due to the increased salary. Plus, this field attracts a wider client base.

But even if you have no prior trade experience, it’s still a great option for those interested in a challenge.

The benefits

  • Excellent salary
  • In high demand in all parts of the UK
  • Ability to start a gas engineering business
  • Stable market and easy route to self-employment

Experience needed for gas engineering

You’ll first need to take a gas engineering course and become Gas Safe registered.

This involves training for assessments which can take as little as 25 weeks with experienced training providers.

Retraining for over 50s as a plumber

What about a career change at 50 with no experience?

Trade businesses offer something very different and exciting for those who have spent years in the same career.

The demand is so high for trained professionals. And many of the requirements are now being relaxed to get more people into work.

This is a great opportunity for people who have little or no experience in a trade-related field.

The same can be said for those who do have experience but are considering learning a new trade.

While this may sound challenging, you’ll soon realise that many of your current skills are transferrable.

Especially if you’re keen on setting up your own business.

The best retraining courses for over 50s

There are many accredited retraining courses for the over 50s, for different trades.

Like anything, some will take a short time while others might take longer to pass.

Either way, there’s no shortage of options! It’s also very likely there’s something nearby. This means you won’t have to travel too far!

To explore the available options, review the National Careers Service. Here, you can find apprenticeships as well as a skills health check.

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Retraining at 50 FAQs

What is the best career to start at 50?

It will depend on what you enjoy, how much you want to earn, and if you’re willing to study again.

Retraining at 50 is becoming very common. So, don’t be afraid to learn a new trade.

What new jobs can I do at 50?

The sky’s the limit! Just make sure you’re happy with the physical demands of some jobs.

Plumbing, for example, is harder on the body than building surveying. So, keep this in mind when choosing a new direction.

What is a good second career for someone over 50?

Finding the ‘right’ career is never easy. But trades offer a good balance of earning potential and variety.

Transferable skills and life experience will also set you up for success if you’re keen on running your own company.

Is 50 too old to start a new career?

Never. There are so many options to retrain at 50, even for people with little experience.

Age should never be a deciding factor. Whether you’re retraining at 40, 50, 60, 70, or above, it doesn’t matter.

So long as you’re keen and physically able to complete the work, you’ll find great success in your new career.

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Retrain at 50 to start a new career

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Content disclaimer: This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer here.

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Manuel zubby

Very informative and helpful.

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