As you may know National Learning at Work Week is happening in the UK this week (14th-20th May). This campaign has happened every year since 1999 and aims to highlight the importance and benefits of continual learning in your job.
Many companies use this as an opportunity to refresh training and development and to shake things up a little but, do individuals take the time to realise the importance of constant learning and growth for their careers?
I must say I am a dedicated learner, currently studying more on CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), I really enjoy the opportunity to learn new theory, new strategies, try new tools, see things from another perspective and it also takes me away from my day-to-day, gives me space to do something for me and to see myself growing personally and professionally.
So, career-wise, why is it so essential we continue to learn and develop?
Firstly, the business world today is not as it was, things are constantly changing and evolving and if we don’t keep our skills honed or up to date we can become the dinosaur in the office and miss out on projects, progression and promotion. We may also feel out of our depth when projects begin to move on causing us worry, stress and anxiety.
Often these days a career doesn’t follow a straight path so having many strings to your bow is essential for flexibility and transferable skills to move in to different areas when necessary.
Staying ahead of the game will not only make your feel more confident and potentially open up opportunities but it can also give you a better insight and perspective on what others are doing, what’s happening in the market, how you or your business is viewed from the outside and a better understanding of your customers’ experience. Being aware of business demands enables you to maintain the competitive edge in your career and/or your business!
It can be challenging to keep on top of learning but here are a few ways you can access new information, training courses or programmes:
• Training provided at work
• Training supported by your employer- i.e. many employers will support university courses or similar either with funding or time off to study- sometimes we just need to ask!
• Online courses
• Networking groups
• Coaching or mentoring
• Workshops in your local area
When selecting type of learning it is important to consider how you learn best, how much support you need, how self-motivated you are, if you prefer learning with others or alone, how much time you have to dedicate to learning and also what each course or programme will give you in respect of personal or professional progression.
No matter what type of learning you choose, just having chosen to learn and grow is a step in the right direction.
‘Learning is a treasure that will follow it’s owner everywhere’- Chinese proverb