Why Lifelong Learning Matters

You may be asking yourself: “Why is lifelong learning so important?” 

We live in a rapidly changing world, and we might find ourselves needing to switch careers at some point in our lives. For this reason, lifelong learning is a necessity. 

Research shows that 7 in 10 bosses aim to hire workers with broader skill sets. In 2017, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report ranked learning agility as a key requirement for most jobs. Furthermore, a study found that yearly learning output of a company’s employees translates to a 20-60% increase in its value.

With changing technology, changing laws, changing leadership, and changing company plans, you need to develop your skills to stay viable. Learning is actually easier now than ever. The wealth of free or low-cost training available now dwarfs the options even five years ago.

As the saying goes, the only constant is change. You must be ready to continue to learn and grow (which also means your employers want you to continue to learn and grow). You can help ensure your own future by keeping your skills up to date. How often do you learn new skills and do you know the value those skills provide? In this article, we explore the benefits of lifelong learning and the importance of it.

1 Stay valuable

If you want to be valuable, you have to learn valuable skills. You have to upskill. You have to learn new skills. The company you work for should not be responsible for upskilling. You should take charge of your learning as this is your competitive advantage.

Putting things into perspective, assume you have been working at a company for almost a decade, you have a 10 year headstart on experience but these fresh blood enter the company bringing more relevant skills they picked up from college. They could be more skilled at using technology and working more efficiently because of that. They may bring more to the table with their digital skills and knowledge compared to an experienced employee if their skills have been the same for the past 10 years.  

2 Personal growth

Ppeople who take part in lifelong learning achieve greater personal growth. The study also revealed that lifelong learners are more likely to have a college degree, to have a higher family income, to be married, and to have a higher socioeconomic status.

This is largely due to their mindset that continuing education is important and they realise the need to improve themselves. They are able to gain new skills to attain higher paying jobs. There are also some people who decide to switch their careers in their 40s after their mid-life crisis where they explore their interests, take the time to go for lessons and gain new skills. Some career switchers may even choose to join a company in a completely different industry from before. A growth in their mindset is what lead to personal growth.

3 Broaden your horizons

Taking part in lifelong learning enables you to build new interests and broaden your horizons. For example, if you participate in a yoga class, you will discover a new way of dealing with stress and anxiety. By learning a new language—for example, Russian—you will be able to communicate with an entirely new group of people. If you take part in a cooking class, you can become a better cook and explore new flavors and ingredients.

Gain an educational advantage by using different learning styles. Learning online or reading books can help you with studies or provide you with useful information and knowledge. Studying in a classroom with other students and a teacher can help you build peer relationships and develop leadership habits. Taking part in a course or a program in a foreign country will provide you with a unique opportunity to work and network with different people.

Learning transcends physical boundaries, you may even take an online course taught by a teacher in another country as long as the skills and knowledge you are learning interests you and you are able to adapt that wherever you choose to find employment again. 

4 How do you begin?

  1. Explore new interests and hobbies.
  2. Develop new skills or improve old ones.
  3. Get involved in extracurricular activities.
  4. Take part in a continuing education program.
  5. Choose a new career path.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, lifelong learning can help you to get a promotion at work, to find a new job or a more satisfying job, or to make a more informed decision about a career switch. Furthermore, you can use your newly-acquired skills to develop a side hustle.

More importantly, lifelong learning is a process of self-discovery. If you are going through a rough patch in your life, you might feel that you have lost yourself or that you have become a shell of your former self. In such circumstances, taking part in lifelong learning can help you to rediscover your passions and dreams.

Conclusion

Lifelong learning is a process of self-discovery, not a chore. Before you take a course or a program, do some research and find out more about it. Check what people have to say on the internet, read blogs and reviews on the topic, and go through stories on Reddit.

If you are not going through a career switch, life-long learning still matters as you embark on the rest of your life. Gifting.sg has recently launched a September campaign that supports 5 different social groups – one of them being career switchers. 

We have partnered with Kimchi Xpress, a social enterprise which has a focus on fair employment. They will be running a course curated by the kitchen staff at Kimchi Xpress. It is targeted at adults who are in between jobs or have their previous jobs rendered obsolete due to the pandemic, and would like to try their hand at the F&B industry. It is a short one-day curriculum with a chance of future employment if the candidate’s attitude is good. We are reaching out to donors who are keen to sponsor the course materials for selected candidates.

If you hope to impact a life with us, please head over to gifting.sg/sep-2021 to indicate your interest. There are more causes you may choose to support from the list too!

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