We live in a world where change is continuous. To survive, either career-wise or socially, we need to be on top of things, to understand the shifting landscape of technology, opportunity and challenge. In the old days, you went to school, then on to college or varsity, then found your career niche in your chosen discipline – and that was it. But now we face the prospect of important jobs today becoming obsolete tomorrow. Many people are finding that their experience and qualifications are becoming valueless.
So what is the answer to this? In a nutshell, it’s continuing education. This is no longer a whim or a matter of choice, this is essential. From young to old, we have to be continually learning, growing, broadening our knowledge, our horizons, and our usefulness. Is this a drag? Certainly not.
Continuous learning is probably one of the most valuable exercises we can engage in. From enhancing stimulation, to greater confidence, to a sense of achievement and value and belonging, people worldwide and at every stage of their careers are engaging in continuing education for both self-improvement and broader employment options.
Benefits for employers
Unfavourable economic conditions and uncertainty in global markets are influential in driving continuing education, but the key factor is the march of technology, AI, and a scope of new careers that are fast superseding the old.
- The benefits of having an up-to-date skilled workforce are numerous because they are able to bring new focus and ideas to their jobs.
- Companies who are preparing for changes and new technologies, and keeping their employees in the loop, will benefit greatly in the next 10 to 15 years. Upgrading is vital and must be continuous.
- Retaining good staff is always a plus – and developing skills improves employees confidence, wellbeing and job satisfaction. You are not only investing in the future, but in people.
- Companies with continuing education programmes maintain happy employees, and this has an impact on productivity. Continuing education has a direct beneficial impact on profits.
- Those employees who eagerly embrace continuous learning, and even engage in their own upskilling, show the qualities of good leadership for the future. It makes succession planning for companies much easier, and reveals the right candidates early in the game.
- Employers are realising that upskilling is integral to business and long term viability – and should be well aware that employees who show a keenness to improve their skills are always an asset for a company. Employers who recognise this, are increasingly offering courses and financial aid for further training.
Benefits for careerists
- With lifelong learning you improve not only your skills in your current job, but your chances of making a career change as well. In addition, opportunities for promotion are greatly enhanced, along with higher earnings potential.
- Continuing education will keep you employed, and also form the groundwork for further learning, thus always increasing your monetary worth.
- Personal development is keenly enhanced by continuous learning. You become more knowledgeable and skilled – and therefore more confident and motivated. Even if you are following a personal interest, learning stimulates the brain and makes you a better person all round. Your self-image is greatly improved by continually learning new things, either through work or personal interest. It also changes the way other people view your capabilities.
- Continuous learning, whether within the class framework or online, works to upskill in equal measure. Choosing your method is your prerogative – some people prefer their own time and pace – but either way, you are slowly but surely becoming a more educated person. Many institutions now offer choices in improvement programs from foundational to specialist to expert. Affordable access is there for everyone.
- An important aspect of continuous education is that it brings people together – either through group work in a classroom or through an online community in an e-learning environment. And this improves team spirit and collaboration. This is vital for building relationships and enhancing creative teamwork and productivity.
- Your motivation to upskill is not merely about yourself – but about how society is changing. Technological disruptions such as automation, robotics, and cognitive technologies are becoming increasingly common in the workplace – so, in essence, you have no choice but to engage in any opportunity to learn that comes your way.
The human benefits
It’s important to note that continuing education can be done at any stage of your career and life. Age is of no matter. In fact, continuing lifelong learning has been found to be very beneficial to both health and cognitive abilities as one ages. And healthier people are happier people, and make more engaged and productive employees.
Exercise for the brain: just as you might exercise your body, getting the brain to deal with new challenges on a daily basis is very effective in keeping the brain sharp, improving language and memory, concept-understanding and innovation. And even more importantly reduces stress, high blood pressure, insomnia, heart disease and improves the immune system.
Increasing awareness and curiosity: both of these factors keep people vital and focused. Intellectual growth through knowledge of trends and developments is critical to wellbeing. The ability to analyse and comprehend based on latest information is crucial to remaining relevant in a changing landscape. Remaining involved and contributory through continuing education creates a healthier mind and body, and has far-reaching benefits for all concerned.