New year, New Career?

The heady combination of the pandemic and Brexit has created seismic changes in the workforce across the country. Businesses are suffering. The retail, hospitality and care industries are particularly hard hit. On the flip-side, the need for staff is pushing wages up and making moving between jobs a lot easier. Employees are in a position of power for the first time in a long time, and it’s a great time to step into a new role.

On Saturday, I had a long chat with some of my girlfriends about changing careers in our 30s and 40s. One of them is thinking about leaving the NHS after years of service but isn’t sure how or what she can do next.

There are always opportunities to start again. To reset. I trained initially as a teacher, decided it wasn’t for me and tried all sorts of roles, including; driving a forklift truck, becoming an Editorial Assistant for a Defence Magazine (writing about tanks and planes). I worked as a Trainer and a Support Assistant for adults with Autism. My new path began when I ran a music venue, later becoming a Company Director overseeing pubs and restaurants. From this experience, I got a taste for PR and marketing. When I had kids, I wanted to work my own hours so I set up my own digital marketing business, through which I became a newspaper columnist, a radio host and a festival organiser. These days I work as a Marketing and Communications Manager, a Freelance Writer, and a Blogger.

stephanie Darkes column in exeter life magazine
My first column for Exeter Life, 2016. A year after we moved to Exeter.

You see, it’s never too late to change the path you are on. There are always opportunities around the corner; we just have to keep ourselves open to new ideas, look around and talk to people in the know.

At the backend of last year, I popped along to Exeter Works to take a peek at the work they are doing, helping people switch careers and get back into work.

Tucked away behind Princesshay on Dix’s Green, Exeter Works is a hub for job seekers and career changers. Exeter Works has brought together more than 25 organisations, including the Jobcentre Plus, National Careers Service, CSW Group, Exeter College, recruitment agencies, local businesses, and training providers to offer vital employment and training information through the hub.

The team at the hub offer free advice for people looking to change career or get back into work after a break. One of the services I thought was excellent is the Career consultations. These are available for both companies and job seekers (the company I work for have been working with the team).

exeter works, exploring exeter, jobs in exeter

We’ve been reading a lot recently about how many of us are thinking about a career change in 2022. Statistics vary according to source, but one thing is true, the pandemic has left many people looking for a change. We want to make Exeter Works the solution for both companies and job seekers.

Suppose you are a company owner or look after recruitment for a company suffering. In that case, Exeter Works can help you to plan open days for potential candidates or put on an event that shows the city what a great employer your business is. Training events and coaching sessions are also available to aid retention. Exeter Works will also share your latest vacancies.

exeter works create jobs in exeter

If it’s a career change you are looking for, or you need advice on what to do next, Exeter Works offers bespoke career consultation sessions.

Our advisers can support with searching for a promotion, a new career direction, volunteering opportunities or training courses.

Exeter Works is also working with Youth Hub Devon, a service funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, Devon County Council and Exeter City Council, which is explicitly aimed at young people aged 16-24, to help them into work.

Councillor Rachel Sutton, Portfolio Holder at Exeter City Council, which runs the Exeter Works service in partnership with Exeter Chamber, said:

It is exciting to be able to offer people the chance to really get their feet on the career ladder following the pandemic. It’s been tough for everybody, but those who have missed out on those crucial first jobs and apprenticeship opportunities seem to have been particularly hard hit.

For further advice and information follow Exeter Works on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, or make an appointment by emailing the advisers at or

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