Benefits of Lifelong Learning
Employers always seek the best-qualified candidates, and they often look at how recently you have been trained in a skill. They are also likely to be impressed if you have job-relevant certificates or certifications. If you can show recent certifications, workshops, and newly acquired skills you will assure the prospective employer that you have a lot to contribute—and, just as importantly, that you are dedicated and proactive when it comes to being the best you can be at your job.
Lifelong learning is also personally beneficial. You may learn about emerging skills or jobs that are a better fit for your life’s goals and values than what you have right now. You may even find yourself in a good position to become a consultant or entrepreneur if you are particularly good at keeping up with industry trends.
Often the biggest hurdle to engaging in new learning is the fear of failure. Just like when applying to jobs, we may be anxious about not performing well on continuing education coursework.
Once we are engaged, we often find the fears are not realities, and that we enjoy whatever was making us anxious! I have a hard time naming a client who hasn’t found that they enjoyed the challenge of continued learning—and the benefits that came with it—once they undertook it.
There is no right or wrong way to receive new training. The list below is some of my favorite places to go to for knowledge and skill training. If you need a degree, certificate, or just the self-confidence, stop procrastinating and go for it.
YouTube: Many colleges and universities have online lectures on YouTube for free.
Udemy: Udemy is a global learning and teaching marketplace. EdX.org: Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX is an online learning destination and MOOC provider. It offers high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions.
Coursera.org: Coursera provides courses taught by top instructors from the world’s best universities and educational institutions and you’ll receive a shareable electronic Course Certificate.
khanacademy.org: Khan Academy is a personalized learning resource for all ages. They offer practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard.
Openculture.com: Open Culture centralizes online courses, movies, audio, eBooks, and other content for any user all of it free.
Stanford Free Online Adult Courses: Activities range from recorded special talks on iTunes to Master’s Degree classes.
The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) can be a great asset as it provides information on training programs and other services for workers who have been, or will be, laid off.
The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation: this resource helps provide people who face mental, emotional, or physical challenges to employment by teaching relevant skills.
Conditions that may qualify you for assistance through the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation can include ADHD, anxiety, depression, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and physical injuries that limit your ability to do certain types of work. Their goal is to help everyone be employed.
Vocational Technical Centers: Although for decades the emphasis in America has been on going to a four-year college, there are tens of millions of high-paying jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree. Instead, these jobs require specialized, highly technical, and hands-on training—vocational training.
High-paying careers that require technical training instead of a bachelor’s degree include truck drivers, cosmetologists (hair stylists and other types of style experts), auto mechanics, electricians, welders, line workers for power companies, oil rig workers, and Information Technology experts such as cybersecurity experts.
Schools that specialize in each of these professions—and many more—can be found on the internet. Some may be attached to community colleges, while others such as trucking, power line work, or oil rigging, may be run directly by employers,.
These companies are eager to fill openings with trained workers, and in some cases may even have scholarship or reduced cost tuition programs available for people who are interested in the field, but are concerned about the cost of training to become qualified.
Most colleges offer online courses for which you can receive credit. They may also allow enrollment in in-person courses on an as-needed basis instead of as a full-time student. These can be helpful if you are trying to work towards a degree or certificate.
Community Centers are organizations, often funded by government grants, that help people gain skills, knowledge, and find opportunities for business and employment. These centers are most common in urban areas but may also be found in smaller cities or towns.
Services commonly offered by Community Centers include résumé and cover letter assistance, job training resources, and networking opportunities. Think of Community Centers as you would a college’s Career Center. The only difference is they serve all taxpayers, including non-student workers and businesspeople.
An apprenticeship is a training system in which a newcomer to a career field assists an experienced worker in that field, and rapidly gains expertise and experience in the process.
Apprenticeships are not as common as they once were, but it is sometimes possible to create an apprenticeship opportunity, if you are sufficiently enthusiastic about the career field, and are able to form a personal connection with an expert.
Experts and business owners are often eager to have assistants who are highly motivated to learn all aspects of the trade or business. For them, having a new employee who is eager to learn exactly how they do things might be preferable to trying to hire regular employees who may or may not be interested in learning and taking on more responsibilities over time.
It is important to note that unlike internships, apprenticeships are regulated by the federal government. While internships are often very brief and unpaid, or “paid in experience,” under the Apprenticeship Act employers must pay apprentices a monthly stipend. Apprenticeships usually last for 6 months to a year.
Lifelong learning keeps you in touch with our rapidly changing society and keeps you active, happy, and positively challenged which will enhance your career path.
Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog and learn about my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.