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Too Old To Learn A Trade?

Close up of a trainee electrician cutting wiring

Are you ever too old to learn a trade?

We’ve all uttered the words “every day’s a school day” and “you learn something new every day” at some point, but have any of us ever followed them up with an age limit? Probably not.

People of all backgrounds, experience levels and ages enquire and enrol onto our training courses, but there is one question we hear more than most.

“Am I too old to learn a trade?”

Job For Life

Leave school, find a career path and stick with it. Essentially, find a job for life. That’s what society once expected of us.

But what happens if the career we once loved isn’t for us anymore? Do we stick with it for the sake of stability or pursue our passion?

What happens if the dream career we spent years working towards now fills us with dread? Do we just carry on due to the amount of time we’ve invested or start again with something new?

Considering how much of our lives we spend at work, it’s essential to be happy in what we’re doing.

Age Barriers

A recent poll on Twitter asked tradespeople what age they were when they joined the industry.

We found that most participants entered the trades when they were between 16 and 24. However, a few people were even younger when they first started learning the ropes alongside their dads. Still in the trades today, those tradespeople are as happy with their career choice now as when they started.

However, as it’s becoming more and more common for people to change their careers later in life, the trades industry is seeing an increase in mature learners. No longer is it just 18-24-year-olds attending university and undertaking apprenticeships and training courses.

20% of participants in our poll said they were 25-34 when they joined the trades. 7% were between the ages of 35 and 44, and 4% were over 45.

It’s clear many people learn their trade at a young age, but almost a third of those polled were 25 or over.


We’re doing a little research and would be interested to know, at what age did you join the trades industry? @TradesTalk @proelectrician @PB_mag @phpi @Installermag #TradesTalk #SkilledTrade #Tradespeople@snlhomerepairs @EarthNicks @grbservices

— Options Skills (@OptionsSkills) September 6, 2019

At Options Skills, we get hundreds of people each week from all over the UK and even further afield contacting us and looking to become an electrician or gas engineer. In addition, we’re seeing more and more people choosing to learn a trade as mature learners.

Why Learn A Trade?

too old to learn a trade - two men in gas workshop

There are several reasons to join the trades:

  • You can work training around existing responsibilities, whether that’s work or family life.
  • In some trades training, you’ll have the opportunity to earn while training, like our NVQ Level 3 Electrical training.
  • You’ll be able to get straight on the tools, and each day will be different both in your training and on the job.
  • You’ll be in an industry that allows you to work on an employed, self-employed or sub-contract basis, and this means both flexibility and a high earning potential.
  • Coming from another industry, you can transfer your existing skills to the trades. Whether that’s time-management, organisation or even IT skills, you can utilise these skills to give you a head start in the trades industry.
  • The industry is incredibly supportive, with tradespeople always being on-hand to help and advise those new to the trades.

Jobbio found that just 23% of Brits are always happy in their jobs. In comparison, an One4All Rewards survey found that over 50% of trades workers scored their workplace happiness at 8 or more out of 10.

There’s a demand for high-quality tradespeople, and there’s no reason why you can’t be one of them – whether you’re 18, 38 or 58.

Get in touch with Options Skills on 0800 802 1306 today to learn more about our trades training courses.

All data correct at time of publication.