The importance of being a lifelong learner

woman studying, learning

Catherine Flynn is Student Services Manager at Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI)

American author Dr. Seuss, real name Theodor Seuss Geisel, once said “the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” It’s not just children who can learn from Dr. Seuss!

Very few people want to spend the rest of their lives working in exactly the same position or for the same company, and as Dr Seuss said, the more you learn, the more places you’ll go. So, whether you have a steady job, are a fresh graduate or have been out of work for some time, it is always a wise decision to continually build on your skills and knowledge to keep yourself moving forward.

Upskilling

Learning new skills needn’t be a daunting prospect. In fact, studies show that no matter your age, learning new information and skills is an excellent way of maintaining, and even growing, your mental capacity, which in turn staves off cognitive decline.

Upskilling is the term given to the process of learning new skills or teaching workers new skills. It does not, however, mean that you have to wait for your employer to offer you additional training or development opportunities, nor does it is necessarily involve enrolling on a university course.

For those looking to dip their toes into upskilling, something as simple as an online course of a few hours or attending a day seminar can suffice. If you want to go a step further, why not look at evening classes and weekend workshops in your local area or online? If you find something that really grabs your interest, whether it is going to enhance your professional prospects and/or become a passion project in your spare time, then you could consider higher education certifications like diplomas and degrees.

Skill growth for career planning

If you have an idea of where you want to go with your career, whether it’s switching jobs and fields or improving your promotion prospects, researching the skills you’ll need is necessary to get you there.

Search the job you are interested in on relevant recruitment websites, open up a number of adverts in different tabs. You do not necessarily need to desperately want to apply for that specific job, this is for research! Look in the job responsibilities and candidate requirements of each advert and look for common words and phrases and note them down on paper. For example, you may open 20 adverts and see the phrase “Google Analytics” mentioned as a required area of knowledge in 14 of them. In that case, you can identify this as an area where you can build your knowledge and skills and search for courses and workshops accordingly.

Keep in mind that you don’t just have to look for tools in this research, look for characteristics and soft skills too! Upskilling does not only apply to hard skills, soft skills are also very much in demand.

Developing in non-academic ways

Don’t forget, you can always keep learning through extra-curricular, non-academic activities too. Hobbies are a wonderful way to learn new things, to socialise, and to keep growing. Getting involved in a team sport can be a way of improving communication and leadership, dancing can develop confidence and help with creativity, yoga can help focus the mind, a book club could help your reasoning skills and expand your horizons…the possibilities are endless!

Learning is a lifelong journey

To keep moving forward, we need to keep learning and satisfying our curious natures. Learning not only keeps us mentally fit, but it expands our horizons and drives our personal growth while also being fun. So, whether you take up a new hobby or enrol in a course, take enjoyment in simply knowing that you are continuing your journey as a lifelong learner, and who knows the all the places you’ll go!

About the author

Catherine Flynn After graduating from Queen Mary University of London with a BA in German and European Studies, Catherine moved to Düsseldorf, Germany to begin her career in education. With extensive experience working in a private English language school, she has also worked in project management and content marketing. Catherine has a true passion for the education industry and she looks forward to supporting students with career guidance as well as any other non-academic related issues.


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