Many women dream of a flexible career, but cannot create it in their current job. So which career options are flexible, pay well, but also give working mums time to spend with their children?
Once qualified, which can take 7 years, a legal position such as a Lawyer or Solicitor is a highly paid career option. Salary is variable, depending on which area of the country you practice in, and the type of work you do. The Law Society has a helpful page on becoming a solicitor. Some legal representatives work for a Private Legal firm, whilst others work for corporate companies. The main difference between the two, is that private legal firms often take on cases involving representing clients in court, whereas the corporate legal representatives deal with legal issues within the company they work for. With higher salary though, the career does offer you the flexibility to work less hours, and plan your days of work around your family needs.
To become a Software Developer, you normally need a degree, foundation degree or HNC/HND in IT, and a creative approach to problem solving. The direct.gov careers service can help with further information. Many working mums already have the ability to solve problems, and if you have the computer ability to match, this could be a choice for you. You need to communicate well with customers, and be able to follow technical plans to design and build computer programmes for them. The salary is good for full time work, but once you build up your experience, you will earn higher wages, you should be able to reduce your hours to fit around your family life. Working from home is also more accepted in the IT sector compared to many other sectors.
Graphic Designers do not have to have qualifications, as their artistic creations and portfolios can often speak volumes more than a certificate. You can have a degree, foundation degree or HND in a related art or design course. The Design Council has more information on courses. You need to be artistic, have the ability to listen to customer requirements, and you need to have the vision to create exactly what clients want to see. Most working mums do this on a daily basis when helping to create school projects or Easter bonnets, so you might have some experience already. Salary for this career choice is similar to that of the software developer, and will rise with experience. It also offers you the flexibility you need as a working mum, to fit your projects around your family needs.
The career of a driving instructor is very flexible, if you have a franchise, and work for yourself. You can become an ADI or PDI driving instructor, and the money you make teaching others to drive can be as much or as little as you want, depending on the hours you choose to work. Gov.uk has good advice on a becoming a driving instructor. This is a perfect career for working mums, which I know first-hand, because my friend is doing it at the moment! She works with a company called Drive Dynamics, and has their full franchise deal, with an adapted car, and guaranteed pupils, and support of a national driving school. She does not have to worry about taking bookings, as their call centre do it all for her, which means she can work the hours that fit around her children.
There are many types of consultants, management, financial, HR, design, building, which all can be done in a setting, or freelance. If you have previously had a successful career in consultancy, but do not want to go back to working full time, or unsociable hours in an office setting, then why not look at the freelance option? Check out these great tips on how to be a successful free-lancer from The Guardian. Many companies would be happy to enlist your help, as it often suits them to have someone on call, rather than full time. It gives you the chance to be more objective, as you have no loyalties or bias to the company you are advising, and offers clients a different perspective. You can then work to the hours that fit in around your home life, without having to worry about expensive childcare costs.
Working for a company or organisation has its benefits, but freelance work could be an advantage to you, although you will be working self-employed. This means you do not get all the benefits you have always had within a company, and have to register with the Inland revenue as Self Employed.
Author: Diane Carr, journalist and writer. Diane, was a working Mum of three children, and went to her local college in the evenings to attain her B Tech Diploma in Education, which gave her the qualification to tutor at College, and work as a B tech Nursery Nurse and Workplace NVQ Assessor at a Private Day Nursery in the daytime. After other evening courses, she currently works as an office manager, ISO Auditor, and writes articles and press releases for various business sectors.