By Carole Paton, Funeral Arranger, Mayfields Remembrance Park

It’s Adult Learners Week this week, and I think it’s really important to share stories about how learning something new can change your life. Opportunities such as Co-op Apprenticeships can help you to progress your career by providing recognised qualifications, professional competencies and management skills.

My main background is in care work, and I started my career working for the NHS with children with complex medical needs. It was incredibly rewarding and I loved every minute of it, but as my children started to grow up, I needed a job that was a little bit more flexible. After leaving the NHS, I worked as a teaching assistant in a school for 10 years, specifically teaching children with special needs.

As my children grew older and became more independent, I felt like the world was my oyster to do something different.

I’ve been a Funeral Arranger for just over a year now. When I first saw the role advertised I thought how different it seemed, but I knew it would be something I could pour my heart and soul into. Soon after starting, I was enrolled onto the Co-op Apprenticeship which I’ve really enjoyed. I love being given the chance to gain new skills through hands on experience and ‘on the job’ learning. In fact, I’ve surprised myself at how easily I’ve been able to adapt. Better still, once I’ve completed it, I’ll have a formal qualification in Funeral Operations and Services.

I know that the prospect of starting a new career or learning something new can feel daunting, but in my eyes, you’re never too old to change your life and learn new skills!

I’m passionate about looking after my families and I find it so rewarding. It’s a privilege to be able to do what I do each day, but to gain a qualification is an extra bonus. If you’re looking for a new challenge, I’d recommend changing careers at any age. There’s so much satisfaction and life experience to be gained through trying new things.

If you’d like to find out more about apprenticeships, there’s lots of information available, just visit the apprenticeship portal on the jobs board.