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Fancy a new job?

Here are four of Scotland’s most inspiring career changers – you could be next!

Is work a bit of a drag at the minute? Do you find yourself hitting that snooze button more and more on work days? Perhaps you can't see a way towards a promotion?

We're here to tell you that work doesn't have to be this way! And with our help, you can take positive steps towards finding a job that'll get you jumping out of bed in the morning.

It’s never too late to find a career you love. In fact, a Careershifters survey found that a third of workers aged 45 to 54 expect to start a new career before retiring.

Start thinking about what job you’d like to do, rather than what you can do. Sure, you might not be able to make the leap straightaway. But there’s support out there to help you retrain or upskill. With a little help and lots of determination, anything’s possible.

Top career changers

To get you thinking, here are three examples of people who’ve made big career changes and never looked back.

Lee Miller (football professional to barber)

article-image-640x360 Lee-Miller

He could’ve let his hair down after a long football career but Lee, a former Scotland international, did a restyle on his working life.

Lee played for big teams like Aberdeen, Middlesbrough and Hearts. Once he hung up his boots, the 40-year-old managed Falkirk FC for a couple of seasons. Lee did well there but was keen to explore a less intense career which would give him more freedom outside of work.

Like most of us, Lee was first introduced to a pair of hair clippers during lockdown. He set his sights on becoming a barber after pulling off regular home haircuts for his four sons. And when the pandemic eased, Lee reskilled at the Scottish Barber School. He now has a strong client base at Nine Hair barber shop in Hamilton.

I loved my time at Falkirk. It was great and I liked the man-management side but now I’m out of it, it’s like ‘Ahh’. I was completely obsessed. I had to get to know my family again because football management is such a 24/7 job.Lee MillerFrom an interview with BBC Scotland

Who’d have thought this well-known football star was cut out for barbering? Perhaps a training course could spark your next career move too. Get a taste of what’s out there and check out the top five most-viewed free courses in Scotland.

Siobhann Dunn (hairdresser to broadcast journalist/producer)

article-image-640x360 Siobhann-Dunn

Siobhann swapped a hair salon for the radio studio and now works on some of Scotland’s most popular shows.

Paisley-based Siobhann worked as a hairdresser for 10 years. Things were going well. But she always had a passion for news and had a burning desire to explore a career in journalism. To kickstart her time in the newsroom, Siobhann signed up for a radio production college course then studied Journalism at the University of the West of Scotland.

And in 2018, Siobhann’s dream came true – she landed a job at the BBC. Starting on the broadcaster’s trainee scheme, she has risen through the ranks to become a senior broadcast journalist. Oh, and she did cool stuff along the way like working on Question Time, travelling to BBC Orkney and producing the drivetime show.

Is your dream career on the backburner? Now’s the time to make it a reality. If you don’t know where to start, our careers advisers will help you take the first steps on your career journey.

Gavin Burgess (retail to surveyor)

article-image-640x360 Gavin-Burgess

Gavin was burning the candle at both ends – working nightshifts in a supermarket and looking after his young family during the day for seven years. The 37-year-old had ambitions of getting into the construction industry but wasn’t sure how to strike a balance between working, studying and childcare responsibilities.

A Graduate Apprenticeship with Thomas & Adamson brought Gavin’s dream career to life. Now, the father of two works as a full-time surveyor and is studying for a degree. The best part? Edinburgh-based Gavin no longer does evening and weekend shifts and has more time to spend with his family.

And the future looks bright for Gavin. His biggest achievement this year has been building pathology, which means he now understands all the building components. Currently in the third year of his apprenticeship, Gavin's next step is the ACP Programme. That'll see him work towards becoming a chartered building surveyor.

Could an apprenticeship be your passport to a new career? Learn more about what’s involved.

It was a great relief to find this option where I could get fully qualified and gain hands-on experience, without having to do the night shifts and weekends anymore. Work life and studying can be a balancing act at times, however I'm now following my own career path doing exactly what I want to do. To anyone who’s having doubts, I’d say you’re never too old to retrain and switch careers.Gavin BurgessTrainee Building Surveyor, Thomas & Adamson

Vicki Short (legal case settler to senior communications executive)

Fancy a new job/Vicki Short

Vicki worked hard to write her own career story and now works in a job that fascinates her every day.

After graduating with an Honours Degree in Communications and Mass Media, Vicki found herself in a situation many of us have been in before. She needed a job to rack up experience yet couldn’t get one due to a lack of experience.

While studying, Vicki worked as a legal case settler within the civil service. Thankfully, she had the opportunity to do this role full time while continuing her job hunt.

But Vicki didn’t sit back and hope a media job would land on her lap. Instead, she spent lots of her own time doing voluntary work for Scottish media organisations alongside her civil service role. As luck would have it, Vicki’s company set up a new communications team. After proving her worth by writing some articles for the staff magazine, Vicki finally landed her dream gig as a media officer within the organisation.

Since then, Vicki has successfully climbed the media ladder. She’s held a variety of communications positions within the public and private sectors. In 2021, Vicki joined Balfour Beatty’s communications team – her first time working in the construction sector. The content of Vicki’s work may be radically different from what she wrote whilst in the civil service, but the communication channels remain the same.

Vicki’s story is one of perseverance and upskilling to get where she wanted to go. If you’re in a similar position to where Vicki was after uni, some volunteering could be your way into the career you want.

For anyone considering a career change, don’t be scared. What have you got to lose? If it’s not for you in the long term, you’ll still get experience, and this can only help further your career. If you’re struggling to find a job, don’t give up.Vicki ShortSenior Communications Executive, Balfour Beatty