Successful Career Change at 40: Where to Begin?

31 Dec 2018 Posted in ⟨For Learners⟩

So you’re over 50 and want to change your career, but don’t know where to start? Well, don’t worry – you’re not alone on this one!

While making a career change at 40 isn’t exactly easy, it is possible, and there are people and programmes out there that are just waiting to help you take the plunge. The thing is, whether you’ve been considering it for a few days or a few years, nothing will change until you take action. So what better time to do that than right now?

Read on to discover 5 essential points to get you started on making a successful career change at 40!


Changing your career does not mean that you need to throw out everything you’ve learnt, for we all possess transferable skills which can be harnessed in a new profession. For example, you may possess outstanding problem solving skills and leadership qualities – both of which can be used in some way in a new career path.

Take note of all of your skills then compare them against a general job specification which you aspire to obtain. If there are matches, then you may be able to directly transfer them to your new career. If there are gaps, then it will be worth seeking out study options or getting involved in community or pro bono projects that will help you cultivate those skills.


There’s no way around it – changing your career will require you to obtain new skills. But if this is what you really want to do, then the prospect of heading back to study should not phase you. Rather, it will be an energising and fulfilling undertaking.

Now study does not necessarily mean going to a university to study a full-time degree with lectures and all. It could mean something as simple as reading books in a new subject area or signing up at education centres that offer workshops, certification courses, or online classes.

Nevertheless, there are more ways to upskill than ever before. It all depends on what you want to study, what kind of learning environment matches your lifestyle and which course will best facilitate your new career aspirations.



Once you’ve decided on what you need to study, it can be overwhelming to see just how much time and money you will need to invest. But before you start worrying about how you’re going to manage, we have some good news for you: there are specific programs out there to help Singaporean mid-career changers deal with the financial burden, and here are two incentives that you need to know about:

1. SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy

Given the increasing importance of lifelong learning and the fast-changing demands of the workplace, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) introduced the SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy last year to assist mid-career individuals.

Under this scheme, Singapore Citizens (SC) aged 40 and above can enjoy enhanced subsidies of up to 90% on course fees for WDA-supported certifiable courses.

Courses are practical in nature, ranging from web development to project management to graphic design to beginner and advanced Microsoft Office skills. For a full list of courses, click here.

2. SkillsFuture Credit

SkillsFuture Credit helps Singaporeans broaden and deepen their work skills so that they may advance in their careers and stay relevant in a fast-evolving economy.

An initial credit of $500 is available to Singaporean Citizens aged 25 years and above, and can be used to pay for out-of-pocket course fees for attending work-skills related courses. What’s more, SkillsFuture Credit can be used on top of existing course fee subsidies provided by the Government.

There are nearly 400 SkillsFuture courses available under this scheme ranging from Sales & Marketing to Building & Construction to Leadership & People Management to Product Engineering Procurement, so don’t let your SkillsFuture Credit go to waste! For a suite of courses for mid-career switchers like yourself, click here.


Rather than quitting your current job, enquire into whether you can make your career change by moving to a different department. By sticking with your employer, you won’t have to start from scratch. Instead, you will be able to leverage on your current network within the organisation, access internal training programmes and maybe even get some or all of your studies compensated!


While learning new technical skills and knowledge is an important aspect of starting a new career, it is just one of many which will determine how successful you will be in your new career. Rather, take a holistic approach to your personal development by accounting for other aspects such as improving self-awareness, while developing your soft skills.

Reading personal development books or getting a coach or mentor are great initiatives to help you enrich your own career. However, educating yourself on developmental tools will put you in a position where you can nurture those around you while further developing your own leadership qualities.

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