As students, you wake up every morning looking forward to graduation day. It is a commencement for all your sacrifices and the long nights studying. However, nowadays formal education is not the final stage in skill learning. Due to numerous advancements in technology and how it is changing the landscapes of many industries especially manufacturing, continuous learning has become a top priority for employees. As businesses continue to adopt technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve their processes, the need for an employee to upskill has become a necessity. You’re already finished with graduation and you have said your goodbyes to textbooks and exams. Why, then, should you make education a lifelong priority?
Why is continuous learning important?
No matter what industry or line of work, workers like you are continuously worried about their job security. According to a study, 87% of workers believe that it is essential for them to train and develop new skills throughout their careers in order to keep up with the advancements in the workplace. The advancements in the workplace are evolving quickly, with businesses adopting modern technology to help in work processes from recruiting to production. In fact, the effect of not investing in continuous learning can already be felt today with millions of jobs left unfulfilled simply because there aren’t enough workers that meet the skills requirements needed for the roles.
The robots are coming, as many workers would say. However true the fear is that machines will one day take over jobs especially in the manufacturing or construction industry, human skills will still be essential to work alongside them. Eventually, there will be a need for workers skilled in understanding how these machines operate. Another skill needed from workers is the ability to intelligently analyze the data and make informed decisions based on the data. People who embrace technology and continue to learn new skills that utilize these technologies are extremely important.
At first, upskilling an employee can be daunting for an employer, especially if it costs a whopping $24,800 to retrain one employee. However expensive it may seem, an organization may look at the alternative costs of foregoing continuous learning for its employees. Instances such as severance costs for mismatched workers or recruiting a new employee that fits the necessary skills for the job can become quite costly as well. Take for example Amazon and LinkedIn who have pledged millions of dollars to upskill their existing workers because they fully understand the importance of investing in the employees they already have rather than looking for people in a very limited talent pool.
Companies are continuously investing in resources to train and upskill their employees. They fully understand that training initiatives mean having a higher employee retention rate. If your organization sets aside the time and effort to invest in you, wouldn’t it encourage you to remain loyal to them as well? So, what kind of resources should you be looking into?
Organizations have invested in programs to foster continuous learning throughout the years. During the early 90’s we all saw the rise of corporate universities which are in-house corporate-sponsored learning facilities that provide opportunities that foster individual and organizational learning.
Local universities are also known to provide courses for continuous learning. Employees such as yourself can take night classes or online courses to accommodate your busy work schedule.
Another popular alternative, especially with the industrial sector are skill certifications. If an organization cannot invest in a full corporate program, it can focus on individualized certifications, instead, based on the desired expertise. A good resource is the Association for Talent Development which provides evening, weekend, or online class sessions at a moderate cost.
Regardless of what your organization’s policies are with regards to continuous learning, it is something you may want to seek out for yourself. Invest and dedicate the time and resources to learn skills that are beyond what is needed for your current role. Remember, technology is changing many industries at a rapid pace but these machines will always need to work hand-in-hand with people. When the time comes, wouldn’t it be wise to be ready?