Over the last 12 months, most of us have experienced changes in our jobs – how we’re working and what we’re working on. Change isn’t an annual event, it’s now an everyday reality and that can feel challenging. We might feel a loss of control and certainty. It can make us uncomfortable and dent our confidence. But change can also bring growth. It can help us to be more resilient and adaptable, we just have to focus our efforts on the things that we can control.
Investing in our learning is one thing we can control and helps us to be our best in times of change. Thankfully, adult learning has also gone through a lot of change. It’s now much more accessible and you can design your own learning experience based on what you want to know and how you learn best.
Here are 5 reasons why now is the right time to invest in your learning:
1. Learning increases your resilience in the world of work
Our jobs and companies are changing all of the time, it’s part of what makes work feel ‘squiggly’. When we keep learning we reduce the risk of our skills stagnating. Learning keeps our brains active and means what we know stays relevant and we remain resilient in our roles. Being proactive about the knowledge and skills we learn gives us more choices about the jobs open to us and increases our employability.
2. Learning helps to build new relationships
Having a strong network is important for progressing in work. Building a professional network can feel daunting, but it’s really just about who we know and how they help us grow. For many people, building new relationships is hard, particularly ones that are outside of your day-to-day work. Learning is a brilliant way of finding points of connection that can make it easier. We might not be working together, but if we’re both learning the same thing it can be a really great way of bringing new, supportive people into your life, who can give you advice and help you succeed.
3. Learning helps us to be happy
When we invest in our learning, we’re investing in ourselves and that makes us feel good. It gives us a sense of who we are and what we stand for. It makes us feel purposeful and increases our satisfaction. Work, and life, has a lot of ups and downs. Investing in our learning is one of the ways we can support ourselves so that we’re better able to respond to things when they happen.
4. Adult learners have choice and control
Learning is no longer restricted to a classroom. You can learn independently or with others. Virtually or in person. Take short courses or longer programmes. There are more flexible options than there have ever been and lots of initiatives to support you too! One great example is the hundreds of free Level 3 qualifications you could be eligible for under the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee. Equivalent to A Levels, these courses will help you develop the skills that employers are looking for so you can progress in your current role or get an exciting new job. Working out what you want to learn and how you learn best gives you much more control of your learning experience.
5. Adult learning helps keep you young
It can improve our memory and how our brain processes information. People used to think that our brains were fixed, but now we know that isn’t true. They can keep changing in a positive way and it’s the effort we put into learning that makes it happen!
Change isn’t easy, but taking control of our learning helps us to navigate our squiggly careers and grow through our experiences at work.
I’d really encourage everyone to think about how new skills could boost your existing strengths and check out any free opportunities you’re eligible for as an adult.
Find out more at gov.uk/free-courses-for-jobs
 Source to note: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/635837/Skills_and_lifelong_learning_-_the_benefits_of_adult_learning_-_schuller_-_final.pdf