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Retraining in your 40s in the trades industry

While it can be a little scary reaching 40, it’s also an age filled with opportunities. Nowadays, retraining in your 40s has never been easier. Read our guide to learn more about learning a trade at 40. Who knows, it could be the best decision you make.

Learning a trade at 40

When it comes to retraining in your 40s, it might not seem it, but your options are vast. This is especially true in the trade industry, where many jobs require minimal prior experience to get started.

This means, that, if you have the desire, you can successfully retrain in any profession. From a bricklayer to a joiner and everything in between. There are even jobs for 40-year-olds with no qualifications.

Best of all, highly skilled tradespeople are in high demand across the country. This means there’ll always be work available once you’re qualified. You’ll also have the capacity to earn an excellent salary as you become more experienced.

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The best career change ideas at 40

There are lots of easy career changes that pay well in the UK. So, choose something that interests you and you shouldn’t go wrong. But with the increasing demand for skilled tradespeople in the UK, some of the best opportunities are in these areas.

The following are some of the best career change ideas at 40 that you can think about pursuing:

1. Retraining as an electrician at 40

Being highly skilled, well-paid, and not overly work-intensive, retraining as an electrician is a solid choice. They carry out a wide variety of work, from residential wiring to civil engineering, street lighting, and commercial electricity supply.

As a qualified electrician, you can also expect the following benefits:

  • An excellent salary of £30,000 to £40,000 once qualified
  • Interesting and varied work on a daily basis
  • Different working environments
  • Design, installation, and maintenance work that provides a challenge

To find out more about retraining as an electrician visit our blog about specialist electrician courses.

2. How to become a plumber at 40

If electrician work doesn’t interest you, then plumbing might be your new trade calling. And for those interested in how to become a plumber at 40, it’s much easier than you might think.

Plumbers have excellent earning potential and numerous job opportunities across the country. Being a plumber, however, is more physically demanding than being an electrician.

You must have a reasonable level of fitness and strength to competently carry out all duties.

Some things to expect as a qualified plumber include:

  • An excellent salary of £28,000 to £45,000 once qualified
  • Work on domestic and industrial water systems
  • Simple leak repairs to complex water pipe design
  • Working with new automated technology

Have a read of our plumbing myth buster blog to find out all you need to know about retraining as a plumber.

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3. Retraining as a gas engineer at 40

Despite the drive towards using green energy, natural gas continues to play an important part in heating our homes. Thus, retraining as a gas engineer is a great career choice, as gas engineers are in growing demand.

When you retrain as a gas engineer, you can expect:

  • An excellent salary of £20,000 to £30,000 once qualified
  • A combination of maintenance and installation work
  • Testing appliances for gas safety and issuing certification
  • Working at various locations both domestic and commercial

Find out more about retraining as a gas engineer to see if this is the sort of job for you.

4. Retraining as a builder at 40

If there’s one trade that will never go out of fashion, it’s building work. So, naturally, it can be a great choice if you’re looking to retrain.

Of course, building work is physically demanding, but this just means you’ll be able to stay active as you work.

Here are a few things to know about becoming a builder:

  • An excellent salary of £30,000 to £40,000 a year
  • Work on both commercial and domestic building sites
  • The chance to branch out and specialise in different areas of building
  • A social atmosphere and the chance to meet new faces every day

You can learn more about this trade in our blog on how much builders earn.

Logic4training plumber in training

5. Becoming a plasterer at 40

It might not be the first job you think of as a trade position, but plastering work is very common. Becoming a plasterer at 40 is certainly one of the simpler career paths you can take.

Training, while comprehensive, is faster than other careers and preps you for expanding into other trades down the line.

As a plaster, you can expect to see the following:

  • An excellent salary of £20,000 to £30,000 once you’re qualified
  • Domestic work in client’s homes, as well as work on larger commercial projects
  • The potential for expansion into other trade careers at a later date
  • The chance to work with a team or as your own business

Learn more about what goes into a plastering career in our guide to plastering courses.

6. Training as a bricklayer at 40

Much like building work, bricklaying work is always a necessity no matter where in the country you are. Easy to learn but hard to master, bricklaying is a trade that you can pick up quickly.

As with the other trades we’ve mentioned, here’s a quick look at what to expect:

  • An excellent salary of £30,000 to £40,000 once qualified
  • Varied site work on a wide range of building projects
  • A quick-to-learn trade that will position you well to branch into the wider construction trade
  • The opportunity to work in different teams or as a subcontractor

Once again, for more information on bricklaying, take a look at our blog on bricklayer earnings.

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Getting a career in the trade after 40

As mentioned above, skilled tradespeople are in high demand across the UK. If you decide to take the plunge and retrain in any trade role, your career prospects will only go up. As a newly qualified skilled tradesperson, some of the opportunities available to you include:


  • Domestic electrician
  • Installation electrician
  • Maintenance & PAT testing
  • Electric vehicle design and maintenance
  • Highway electrical systems


  • Commercial plumbers
  • Residential plumbers
  • Water supply plumbers
  • Water treatment specialists
  • Servicing and repair

Gas engineers

  • Boiler installation and maintenance
  • Gas Safe testing and certification
  • New technology development
  • Commercial gas infrastructure
  • Emergency gas leak repairs

Options Skills - Gas Training Course


  • Domestic building work
  • Commercial building work
  • Long-term projects in various settings
  • Infrastructure projects
  • Emergency building repairs


  • Plastering projects in client’s home
  • Wide-ranging commercial plastering projects
  • Construction site plastering work
  • Experimentation with new plastering substances
  • Ad-hoc plastering repairs and site preparation


  • Small-scale domestic bricklaying
  • Large-scale commercial bricklaying
  • Single project bricklaying build
  • Garden and outdoor bricklaying
  • Bricklaying infrastructure projects

Retrain for a successful career

And join the #1 trade directory to grow your trade business

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Choosing courses with Checkatrade

As you can see, there are plenty of career change ideas at 40 that you can try. And once you’re retrained, be sure to consider joining Checkatrade.

As a verified Checkatrade member, you’ll get instant respect from both colleagues and customers. We’ll even help you win new business and build your brand as a trusted trader.

Get in touch today to learn more about becoming a qualified Checkatrade member and don’t forget to visit our blog. We have similar articles, including the best jobs for 50 year olds and retraining after redundancy.

Retraining at 40 FAQs

What jobs are most popular with over 40s?

Skilled trades such as electricians and plumbers are popular jobs with over 40s. Other trades such as builders, plasterers, decorators, and gardeners are also popular.

Administrative and office-based jobs also remain popular with over 40s. Tradespeople often use their work experience and transferrable skills to switch to more managerial roles within the same industry.

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