Welcome to our National Careers Week series – the theme for 2022 is “Career. More than just a job” and we’ve taken an in-depth look into what your career actually is, and what you can do to take control over it.
This time we’ve examined lifelong learning and what it means for you, and in other posts we’ll look at:
- The difference between career, job, and work
- What you can do with your core skills
- When things go wrong and how to handle career chaos
- What is digital literacy and what does it mean for your career?
- When is the right time to start learning about careers
- How to find career-related information you can rely on
If you haven’t heard of lifelong learning by now, then you may have been living under a rock.
The thing is that we know the world of work is changing – on average, people are changing jobs every three years, which is a huge shift from 10 or 20 years ago. People work in the gig economy, they work flexible shifts, and they work for multiple employers.
All this means that in order to keep up and remain employable, we’ll need to keep our skills and knowledge current.
Will I be expected to learn all the time?
No. But, you may need to pick up new skills and knowledge, or refresh your skillset, from time to time.
Sometimes this may be as simple as taking a short course to learn how to use a new piece of equipment, or going on a weekend intensive to learn a new skill.
Lifelong learning is more about changing how you think about learning – rather than expecting to move away from education as soon as school is over, young people will need to be prepared to keep learning throughout their lives.
What does lifelong learning look like?
You’re not expected to go back to school, or even to spend half your life at university. Lifelong learning means that you’ll deliberately pick up new information and skills all the time, through ongoing learning that can be both formal and informal.
You could learn something directly related to your career, or you could expand your skillset and learn something relatively unrelated. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
- Learn a language on your phone with Duolingo
- Read articles on Medium
- Listen to podcasts from the ABC
- Find local networking opportunities on Eventbrite
- Take a short online course via edX
- Go to TAFE and learn to run your own business
- Start a degree and learn over months or years
Lifelong learning is about changing your mindset
One of the things that school is supposed to teach you is how to learn. Sometimes, this can get a bit lost in NAPLAN and the ATAR, but it’s really important that you leave school with the skills you need to identify when you need to learn something new, and the drive to go out and learn it.
Don’t connect lifelong, post-school learning with the experience you’re going through right now, but they’re not the same thing. Lifelong learning gives you power over your future, and the chance to change the types of jobs you are able to access, and you control what you learn and how you learn it.
This gives you a lot more flexibility than you get while you’re at school.
If you prefer to learn online at your own pace, then that’s totally ok. If you’re someone who reads voraciously then you may want to pick up new knowledge that way. Short courses are usually heaps of fun, and adult education specialists know how to link your learning with your career which makes the experience more meaningful.
All you need to do right now is open your mind to the idea of learning throughout your life, and you’ll be on the right track.
Next in the National Careers Week Series we’ll be looking at core skills.
About The Author
Career Education has been a part of Lucy’s life since she was 10 years old, and would spend her pupil-free days putting up Careers Bullseye Posters in her Dad’s Career Advisor office.
Lucy believes lifelong learning unlocks opportunities, and gives us a chance to change how we see our careers.