Advance your career in the dental sector: busting common myths holding people back this National Apprenticeship Week

Whether you’re joining from another industry or looking to take your skills to the next level, the dental sector provides many different opportunities to advance your career.

New Bupa research shows more than two in five people want a new role, either to increase their job satisfaction (40%), try a new challenge (35%), or do something more meaningful (42%). But for a quarter of people (27%), a lack self-belief is holding them back, while others are worried about starting again, learning the skills required, or having to take time out to study.

Here Sam Williams, People Director for Bupa Dental Care busts some of the common myths that might be holding people back from making a new start.

“I’ve left it too late to make a change” MYTH

It’s never too late to pursue your passions in life! I often hear people worrying that they should stick with the path they committed to when they first entered the world of work, or that they’re too old to make a change. However, the career that suited you well at first may no longer complement your ambitions or family life now. At Bupa we see people of all ages come to us to start something new, so trust me you won’t be alone.

“I won’t be able to learn the new skills required” MYTH

This is a common concern I hear when it comes to changing careers. For many of us, it might feel like a long time since we were in a classroom, so the idea of learning new things can be daunting. I always try to remind people that they will have more transferrable skills than they think, and that no one is expected to know everything on their first day.

“I can’t afford to stop work while I retrain” MYTH

For many people, the prospect of having to take a pay cut or risk time without a steady wage while retraining can hold them back from changing careers. In fact, this is a major concern for a quarter of people (26%). But apprenticeships can be a great way of overcoming this, as they offer opportunities to ‘earn while you learn’, and many apprentices end with a job and a pay rise, in recognition of your new skills.

Sometimes, changing careers can mean a short term drop in earnings, leading to greater earning potential in the future. During this time, look for any schemes or benefits you might be entitled to, which your employer should signpost to.

“My skills are too niche to transfer to another job” MYTH

Changing careers can be daunting, even if you’re moving between similar sectors. But you’d be surprised how many skills you have that will be relevant to a new role. For those looking to move into the health and social care sector, having natural empathy, compassion and enthusiasm are invaluable and will stand you in good stead.

“There won’t be enough support” MYTH

Considering what support is available is a really good thing to do when looking for a new job, especially if you’re moving into a new sector. It’s a good idea to look at whether your new company offers wellbeing services, like Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), Remote GP appointments or health assessments, or if they operate a buddy or mentor system to help you find your feet. If you’re planning on doing some learning alongside your career change, for example doing an apprenticeship, you should be able to access support from your line manager, apprenticeships team and from your learning provider too.

Jaimee Mitchell doesn’t want her apprenticeship to end…

Jaimee Mitchell, 20, from Cardiff, is one year into her dental nursing apprenticeship at Bupa Dental Care Penarth. She explained, “Despite having no qualifications or prior experience in dentistry, I applied for an apprenticeship in 2022. I didn’t expect to be selected, so when I was offered the position, it was the best thing ever. I have found my happy place here.”

Jaimee wants to advise others that their grades do not define them and there are so many options available out there.