PANDEMIC-related redundancy has been the catalyst for many choosing a career change ... with some re-training as teachers.

Data from the Office For National Statistics suggests that the crisis is causing more of us to rethink.

It shows that 6.1% of employed people changed occupations between January and June 2020, up from 5.7% in 2019.

Of those, over half changed major industry.

Wirral residents are being invited to apply for a programme that helps them to move into new teaching careers.

Transition to Teach is a Department for Education funded service supporting eligible career changers into teaching.

It is designed to help transfer existing skills into a new career, particularly those who have been made redundant, or are at risk of redundancy, people taking early retirement or career changers.

One of the people who has taken advantage of the programme is Dan Storer, 37. This time last year, he was working as a flight attendant for a major airline. He is now training to be a secondary languages teacher. As for many people, it was the pandemic that caused Dan to completely rethink his career path.

Wirral Globe:

Dan Storer 

He said: "I became a flight attendant when I graduated from my languages degree. 13 years later, the pandemic was the turning point for me to decide to train as a teacher.

"The skills I will take from my old career into teaching include the ability to build relationships, being willing to work hard and, for the future, the understanding of how to create happy teams.

"I have lots of stories to tell which helps me to engage my pupils in languages.

"I've been teaching four classes now since September as part of my School Direct programme, and actually, seeing the progress the children have made is a million times more satisfying than anything I have done before."

Pandemic-related redundancy was also the catalyst for fashion merchandiser Alexandra Heynes, 31, to make the move to teaching.

She said: "In my old career in fashion retail, I was working across Europe, attending buyers’ meetings and liaising with retail teams.

"Customer behaviour generally has been moving towards online but during the pandemic lots of the stores closed, which meant my position, with its focus on physical stores, was no longer required.

Wirral Globe:

Alexandra Heynes

"As a fashion merchandiser, I've worked for three companies in the last two years. Restructures were starting to happen more frequently.

"It made me begin to question what else I could do as a career. I looked at the skills I used in my job, such as maths, and how they could be transferred."

Alexandra contacted Transition to Teach and received advice and practical support with applying to a teaching course; Alexandra will continue to receive support right through to the end of her first year as a newly qualified teacher.

She continued: "The skills I developed as a fashion retailer include team working, interpersonal skills and identifying and meeting customer needs.

"My job was about making things as good as they could be for the customer, the difference now is that my 'customer' will be the children I teach.

"It's certainly very different from fashion merchandising, but I’m really enjoying it."

It is adults aged 35 plus that were most likely to take the plunge with a new career, with 26.9% of career changers in the 35-49 age bracket, and a similar percentage in the 50-64 years age group. A possible reason for this, is the higher incidence of transferable skills for these age groups.

Redundancy in the UK reached a record high of 14.2 per thousand between September and November 2020.

Employer engagement manager at Transition to Teach, Jo Holland, said: "The pandemic has made us question big life decisions more than ever, like where we live and our career.

"For some, the catalyst to change careers has been the pandemic, for others it has been redundancy or the threat of redundancy.

"Teaching isn't for everyone, it’s our job to help people to explore whether teaching will suit them.

"If it does, we'll be there to support eligible individuals on every step of their journey into a whole new career."

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