I’ve left school, why do i have to learn?

“I’ve left school, why do I need to learn?” is a question I get asked so many times, and my answer is always the same. We learn every day, without learning we would not engage in or experience life.

Learning allows us to develop and deepen skills, increase knowledge, understanding, awareness, values, ideas and feelings. Put simply, learning leads to change, development and the desire to learn more.

The Campaign for Learning defines learning in a great way, they say:

We know that learning through our lives makes us generally healthier, happier, longer-living and wealthier. Not only do we benefit as individuals, but learning beyond school has wide ranging and immeasurable benefits for our families and communities, society and the economy.

So what does this mean for business?

In the era in which my parents grew up, traditionally they would leave school and get a ‘job for life’. Job security was everywhere and people could plan their whole lives up until retirement if they wanted to, however as I write this today we are in a very different position.
The UK has shifted from large scale manufacturing to high tech industries such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals, and value added services. Gone are the pot banks that provided thousands of jobs up and down the country, gone are the mines that were the staple of many communities and in their place we see continuing technological advances and the shift to digital that have had a huge impact on traditional ways of working. Jobs that once required no basic literacy skills are disappearing, with the majority now involving intermediate or advance skills.

In addition to the change in industries we have also seen a shift in the way we work. Flexible working, home-working, part-time jobs, job-shares and independent contractors to name a few. The options for employment are unrecognisable to 20 years ago and while this is fantastic, there is a risk that those with specific skills will fall through the net as they are highly skilled and experienced in one bespoke area.

This is why learning is so important. People change, the world changes and expectations change. If you want your business to thrive in a world where competition is fierce you need to invest in yourself and your staff. Staff who have access to training and development are happy staff, happy staff are loyal staff and loyal staff love your business like you do and want to make it better.

A wise man once said ‘the only constant in life is change’ (thanks Dad!!) and without learning and development do we really change?

And finally, some food for thought…

People who have an opportunity to continually learn and develop their skills and capacities:

  1. Make our economy grow and develop
  2. Ensure that their children develop a love of learning and take full advantage of education
  3. Actively participate in their own communities and civil society
  4. Support and respect people with different cultural beliefs and abilities
  5. Respect and protect the environment for future generations
  6. Nurture creativity and imagination
  7. Live healthy and fulfilled lives

So: Investing in training and development as an adult makes sense for EVERYONE.