We currently live in an age where the rate of knowledge is doubling every 13 months. If you’re an ambitious professional looking to make an impact in a world that’s evolving at this pace, upskilling is vital.
“The time to learn is no longer measured in terms of months/years. Time to learn is measured by what you need to learn, and how hard you are willing to learn. As you are part of a global workforce, you need to adjust to changing needs and learning must be a part of everything you do, as change is an inevitable part of your future.” – Marilyn Hallett
Lifelong learning may be a deliberate act, but it’s also an attitude. It’s about accepting the fact that what’s relevant to you now may not have been what was relevant straight out of school or even university.
It’s about realising the value of school and university in shaping your thinking and giving you foundational knowledge or skills, but acknowledging that later in life, once you have career experience, you are more in tune with the specific skills or talents that you need to develop further.
This approach to learning has seen the rise of the non-traditional student – generally someone who is:
- financially independent
- several years out of high school or university
- often married or a parent already in a full-time job; and/or
- dedicated to a set career path
These students typically have more life experience, which affords them a more mature approach to learning. Whereas traditional students have the freedom and time to pursue different degrees or to change majors, non-traditional students are often faced with financial constraints and a lack of time. This makes lifelong learning an imperative and highly valuable action for them to take.
Committing to lifelong learning by taking short courses, obtaining part-time postgraduate diplomas or investing in other educational programmes not only makes you better at what you do but also makes you indispensable to current or future employers.
The reality is that your capacity to learn and grow doesn’t diminish as the years’ tick by, but your attitude towards learning will be what determines the impact you have on society in the future.
Published in partnership with UCT and GetSmarter, an online education provider.