The Importance of Ongoing Education for the Country, Economy, and Your Success

Nov 1, 2018 by

Formal education, for many, will end either in their teenage years or in their early twenties. It is then that we bid farewell to tests and scores, and instead open ourselves up to even harsher scrutiny – the workplace. The only mistake you can make in this setting, however, is to give up learning entirely. While there might not be tests anymore, nor deadlines to adhere to, continuing your education has never been more crucial.

Without this ongoing learning, you will not:

1.    Feel fulfilled in life

2.    Progress in your career

3.    Stay competitive in the workplace

Ongoing education is vital for the country, economy, and your ongoing success. It is how you will stay relevant and love both your job and your quality of life.

The Importance of Career Development
Career development is engrained into our very culture. We are taught from a young age that, if we don’t continue to achieve, we are not reaching our full potential. This is both beneficial and detrimental to our mental health and quality of life. If we don’t progress and change, many of us will start to feel stressed, unhappy, and generally unfulfilled day in and day out. On the other hand, the mindless pursuit of the next stage is causing many to overwork.

Stress one way, and stress the other. The key to a happy life is to find a balance. You want to continue to progress at a healthy rate, gain the recognition and pay rise as your role changes, but you don’t want to run so fast towards those goals you miss everything else in life.

Steady progression is the best way. Choose one skill that you want to develop and gain the necessary certification in it. The more aligned that skill is with your career, the better. This way, you can be consistent in your performance, which is overall a much better trait for leadership than pushing yourself until you burn out.

Top Methods to Use Your Education to Further Your Career

You want to be smart when it comes to your ongoing education. Choose the certifications that will help give you an edge on your competition and recertify in areas that need constant updates. What are the best ways to ensure you continue to further your education while in the workplace, however?

1.    Stay Relevant

Learning something once does not mean that your skills will stay relevant. Learning a program in college but not keeping up to date with its updates and new formats is useless. If the industry itself switches to a different program, then your primary skill is nothing but a faded memory.

Then there are the skills that are certified, like health and safety. You need to recertify every year or every few years in order to prove that you still know your stuff.

2.    Broaden Your Skill Base

Though being highly specialized can help you in many fields, it is not the only way forward. Managers, in particular, have the incentive to broaden their skill base so that they can lead and provide better working conditions for those in their care. You can do this by completing a health and safety certification or any of the other 90+ ASSP’s courses available. This way, you can work towards providing a safer atmosphere for everyone involved. Dangerous professions or those who work with heavy machinery will greatly benefit from these extra skills, and having them can mean giving yourself the edge when a promotion comes up or more bargaining power if you negotiate for a raise.

3.    Read Constantly

When it comes to developing your career, the best habit to get into is reading. Read the news every morning. Read more serious papers and books about your industry, and try to keep up with reading as a hobby. When you read, you benefit both from the information on the page and from a boost to your vocabulary. Being verbose will get you far, and combine that with up-to-date knowledge and insights and you will be the go-to person for your employers.   

4.    Take Advantage of Your Employment

If there are programs in place to help you advance in your career, then take advantage of them. If there are not, you need to ask for them. Emailing a supervisor and asking if you can shadow a shift in a position you want to apply for is not embarrassing. It shows initiative and the willingness to learn, even if it’s on your own time.

Education Methods Every Company Should Have

Ongoing education shouldn’t just be something that employees have to concern themselves with, either. All employers should invest in their employees. It is the only way to both improve the quality of their workforce and to instill a sense of loyalty and workplace satisfaction necessary for high retention rates. There are several ways that you can provide this. You can:

5.    Offer shadowing opportunities within your company

Large companies will have plenty of in-house education opportunities available. Simply offer shadowing opportunities. A new employee who starts in one position should be able to request to shadow another employee, learn the ropes, and then later apply for open positions in that field. This is a great way to get employees to bond together and learn from one another, and with the exception of some loss in productivity, it is a very cost-effective way to train everyone with the ambition to learn.

Just remember to advertise that these opportunities are available. Ask your employees if and when they would be willing to teach their co-workers and send out an email bulletin making a note of what is available. This way, it’s not just the ambitious ones that benefit, but everyone at your company.

Best case scenario: You can hire internally from people who already know your company and get along well with your other employees.

Worst case scenario: Your employees understand the roles in your company and how everything interlinks. Either way, your company will be stronger for the opportunity.

6.    Sponsor employees to attend workshops and conferences

Workshops and conferences are your industry’s way of coming together and strategizing for the future. It is a huge mistake to miss them, but that doesn’t mean you always need to attend. Instead, sponsor an employee to go in your place and represent the company. Have them create a PowerPoint or summary of events to send out to everyone else in your company when they return so that you can all be on the same page and plan accordingly.  

7.    Pay for more formal education opportunities

Those in the sciences or humanities will find that there is a lot of work being done in the academic world. From reports and essays to experiments, there is so much research being done that your company can benefit from. Simply subscribe to a relevant database or buy the relevant publications and share them amongst your employees.

Ongoing education is how the country will fare better, how its economy will improve, and how each and every individual within it will be fulfilled and successful. It is time for employers and employees alike to start adopting this mindset of career development within their job’s role. Hiring qualified individuals is great, but training employees to fill that role instead is better for your retention rate.

Employers should have a series of starting roles specifically designed for growth, and that will target recent graduates without formal work experience. Employees should prioritize companies that offer these training opportunities over ones with a slightly higher salary because when it comes to benefits, career development is the best one you can receive.

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