Or should it rather be “to learn or not to learn?” Some might counter with “But I’ve already learned enough” and list their qualifications. Fair point, but the reality is that lifelong learning has become an essential part for today’s professionals.
According to Eurostat, the European Statistical Office, 45.1% of adults within the EU (aged 25-64) participated in education and training in 2016. And with over one third (33.9%), it was actually employers that were the most common providers of training activities*.
So, here are three reasons for lifelong learning:
- You don’t have a choice
The most important one is that you simply have to continue learning in order to remain competitive. Today’s technological advances and frequent disruptions require a willingness to improve your skillset. There are jobs that simply might be gone in the not so distant future due to ongoing automation or AI taking over tasks. Yes, this might be scary. However, refusing to embrace this kind of change and burying your head in the sand will only damage yourself and your career prospects. In order stay relevant for the jobs market you need to be flexible, especially as new technological advances mean that roles are fast evolving and those entering the labour market today will have to work longer and change their careers more often.
- Skills are needed for growth and productivity
Another reason for the importance of lifelong learning – which also affects businesses – is that skills are linked with economic growth. However, the problem is that the UK just like so many other countries is struggling with an ongoing skills shortage and this can have very negative consequences.
According to last year’s Getting Skills Right: United Kingdom report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “developing the right set of skills and making full use of them in the economy is a recipe for higher productivity, growth and inclusiveness”. Businesses should therefore consider what role they can play in order to close the skills gap. And one solution would be to invest in homegrown talent by offering more on-the-job training and support for staff to get professional qualifications.
- Skills increase confidence
And finally, every individual has personal reasons to pursue their own lifelong learning goals and the value it brings to them. It's not only about career paths and personal ambitions but also about gaining knowledge, expertise, skills, and credibility, and therefore feeling confident. Jobseekers are increasingly asking about Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities during job interviews. These days, being a professional isn’t just about following the job description. It’s also about improving oneself and staying ahead of trends and changes in your industry. And CPD is now an integral part for long-term career plans.
Businesses supporting their staff’s lifelong learning should become the norm as both sides will benefit from a skilled workforce.
For more information on continuous learning and accredited training courses for best practice qualifications such as ITIL®, PRINCE2® and MSP®, go to www.axelos.com.
To find out more about the My AXELOS content subscription service and our CPD toolset go to www.axelos.com/professional-development.
* Source https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Adult_learning_statistics