Whether you’re just starting out in your career or you’ve got decades of experience, you should never stop learning in your profession. Even Bill Gates, who is a world expert in his field, reads 50 books a day. Needless to say, you can never learn too much.
There are many ways to continue learning throughout your career. Continuous learning is also known as upskilling, and it may include adult training, professional development, or even self-directed adult learning.
In this blog, we’re going to talk about the various benefits of continuous learning, whether that be through adult learning courses or other means. Then, we’re going to give you some tips on how to access adult education courses and other opportunities.
Benefits of adult training
Upskilling, especially through adult education courses, offers so many benefits. These benefits can range from financial through to emotional. Let’s look at some of these benefits in detail.
1) You get to advance your career
By taking adult learning courses, you can take the next step in your career. With your new skills and experience, you could advance to a higher position with a higher salary.
Before starting any adult education course, we recommend making a career plan. In this plan, you’ll write down your long-term goals, for example, what kind of work you want to be doing in 5 or 10 years.
Your career plan will then guide you in your upskilling and help you choose your courses. This is also known as career mapping. Not sure how to create a career plan?
2) You boost your job satisfaction
Another big benefit to adult training is the job satisfaction it provides. These days, Australians are working for longer, sometimes well into their 60s and 70s. Job satisfaction is incredibly important if we’re going to be spending so much of our lives at work.
Not to mention that learning new things makes people happier in general.
Adult training also helps with job satisfaction because people feel more in control of their role and their duties. When you are happier in your job, you’re also more productive, which is great for your employer and your career.
3) You improve your job prospects and security
Upskilling through adult education courses helps you to strengthen your career in many ways. One of these ways is by helping you to stay relevant and avoid redundancy. Through continuing to learn new skills and grow as a person, you’re improving your employability, and ensuring that you have job prospects well into the future.
Unfortunately, technology is replacing many jobs and automation is making many older roles redundant. Through adult training, you learn skills in new technology which are vital to today’s jobs market.
4) You make valuable connections
By taking adult education courses, you can meet other professionals in your industry. Connect with them to build your professional network. In this way, you could find out about future job opportunities and other training opportunities, or simply stay in-the-know.
While networking is great for future opportunities, it also gives you the chance to share knowledge. You will have skills to share with others and vice versa. You could also meet more seasoned professionals who could become mentors, providing you with valuable support and guidance in the future (more on this later).
How to keep learning
Now that you understand the benefits of adult training, you probably agree that you can never learn too much. Now it’s time to look at how to embark on your important adult learning.
a) Take responsibility
Employers benefit greatly from training their workers. Although employers have to invest time money and resources into providing training, they get a great return-on-investment from having more qualified and competent staff.
Some employers are aware of this. They also know that training is part of performance management, which helps workers do their best work and stay in their positions longer. In this way, training staff keeps workers engaged, productive, and committed to their jobs for longer. Employers need this because hiring new staff is more costly than retaining their existing staff.
Despite all of these benefits for employers, we recommend taking responsibility for your own adult training. Make upskilling a priority to ensure that you stay relevant and employable for many years to come. If you have to invest in your own training, this will also pay off in the long term as you move into higher-grade work.
b) Take advantage of opportunities
Your employer may offer a lot of opportunities for training and upskilling. They might have their own continuous learning programs or training days, or they might even pay for your adult learning courses. If your employer offers you time or funding for training, take advantage of this.
Keep in mind that your employer would love it if you scheduled in some time each week for your own training and professional development. For half an hour each week, spend time developing soft skills or reading news that’s relevant to your industry. Do this on a regular basis and watch your skills and knowledge grow.
If your employer has not provided you with adult training opportunities, we suggest that you ask them to provide or fund additional opportunities. Although this might be daunting, simply explain to your employer how giving you funding for adult training would benefit them.
Your employer is likely to recognise the benefits of keeping their staff up-to-date, because this keeps the company competitive in their market. It may also be that case that your company has a budget set aside for learning that never gets used. Just by asking, you could take advantage of this hidden opportunity and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
d) Coaching and mentoring
There are many reasons why you’d use a career coach. Career coaches do more than just help people find a job, they can help you advance your career, get promotions, and make industry connections. A career coach can also help you choose your adult learning courses.
Similarly, a mentor in your industry can help you with your upskilling and help you choose your adult learning courses. A mentor is someone who has been where you’ve been, had more experience than you, and can help guide you. With a mentor, you get an ongoing relationship and support.
How to choose what to learn
As we discussed above, working out your career goals is a great place to start figuring out which adult education courses you want to take. But if you’re not too sure what direction you want to take in your career, doing a few different courses can help. This way you’ll get a taste of different things before you work out your long-term goals.
Another way of working out what you want to learn is by doing some research. There are many resources online what can help you choose what to learn. For example, this article explains the differences between certificate vs diploma vs degree, helping you work out which qualification level is right for you.
It’s also important to read broadly in your industry to get ideas. In your readings, you might come across new skills or technologies that would really help you in your job and your career. Also, spend time on for websites, online platforms and groups that relate to your industry, for example, through LinkedIn. By sharing knowledge in this way, you’ll come up with upskilling ideas.