Why Lifelong Learning is essential for your workforce development strategy
Understand why Lifelong Learning can close the skills gap in your company and learn how to apply this strategy in your organization today!
Lifelong Learning is the continuous pursuit of education and qualification focused on personal and professional development
Finding qualified professionals who are prepared to fulfill all of the necessary requirements employers seek today in the job market has become a difficult task for recruiters.
Our traditional forms of education can no longer qualify professionals with the new evolving skills and abilities needed to remain competitive in today’s market. The employees who seek to further develop their skills and continue learning after formal education, are the ones with better chances of securing a job and remaining employed. In other words, becoming a professional who never stops learning is part of the solution for closing the talent skills gap.
The Annual Global CEO Survey conducted by PWC, which discusses the main agendas of leaders around the world, states that today’s talent skills gap is a global topic of major concern. In recent years, due to the increase of this competency gap, continuous learning has become even more fundamental, so that both hiring and workforce strategies become successful.
Learn more about Lifelong Learning and how to foster it amongst your employees:
- What is Lifelong Learning?
- The 4 Pillars of Lifelong Learning
- Why is Lifelong Learning important?
- Benefits of Lifelong Learning
- How to implement a Lifelong Learning strategy
What is Lifelong Learning?
Lifelong Learning is the ongoing pursuit of knowledge and learning throughout life, regardless of what career you have chosen to pursue or if you’ve received a traditional education.
A Lifelong Learner is a person who chooses to build new skills or strengthen existing ones throughout their professional career and personal life.
When Lifelong Learning is applied and promoted in the corporate environment, teams become more qualified and aligned with the organization’s overall direction and growth. Learning can happen through training, social interactions, lectures, workshops, podcasts, and educational courses. With the right tools in hands, learning opportunities become endless.
The 4 Pillars of Lifelong Learning
According to The Lifelong Learning Council Queensland foundation, Lifelong Learning is based on 4 main pillars:
- Take pleasure in learning:
For knowledge to be properly absorbed and retained, take pleasure in learning. Curiosity, applicability to real life scenarios, skills targeting, and critically analyzing what’s been learned all contribute to Lifelong Learning success.
- Apply what’s been learned:
Turn learning into skilling: through training, work, projects and other forms of opportunities, put learned skills into action.
- Learn socially:
Share acquired knowledge with others and receive feedback to foster learning habits in a scalable way.
- Take charge:
Become proactive in the learning journey by creating personalized learning paths and a strong learning routine.
Why is Lifelong Learning important?
With the fast changes occurring in the workplace, accelerated by the pandemic and other factors, such as the on-going creation of new types of job roles to keep up with technology, knowledge and skills acquired by traditional education cannot keep up.
The result of all this impacts organizations and individuals directly: professionals have become unequipped skillswise to conquer the modern day job market. Because of this, there is a very large gap in the journey of education to employment. While millions of candidates with potential to work find themselves without job opportunities, on the other side, recruiters cannot find enough skilled professionals to hire.
After Covid-19, problems generated by this skills gap have become even more evident. Research conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 205 million jobs will be lost by 2022. At the same time, for growing businesses, the trend causes a major concern: by 2030, the demand of skilled workers outruns supply.
This is where the importance of Lifelong Learning comes in. While our education system doesn’t go through a massive transformation to adapt to the current scenario, professionals must continuously keep learning so stay updated with market trends.
The skills gap doesn’t only affect candidates and hiring teams. For employees, continuous learning is essential for career advancement. For organizations, investing in training and developing their workforce, through reskilling and upskilling, is important in order to avoid talent shortages.
According to the research “Lifelong Learning: Why do we need it?”, conducted by the University of Tehran, professionals who have greater opportunities to update and adapt their skills, are more likely to reach higher positions and win better career opportunities.
Even though some professionals still believe that learning ends after earning a degree, technological changes are here to prove that this mentality is outdated. The world has changed, and the way in which people learn must follow suit.
In order to have a successful career, individuals must be aware of the constant changes that arise in a demanding job market and always look for new ways to update themselves. Reskilling means to acquire new skills, and for this to happen, people must be prepared to embark on the continuous learning journey to increase their readiness and competitiveness in the job market.
Benefits of Lifelong Learning
The main focus in the Lifelong Learning concept is to keep individuals up to date in their education and interests so that they can achieve their goals and face either personal or professional challenges.
9 benefits of Lifelong Learning for companies and employees:
- Qualifies workforce
- Keeps corporate training efficient
- Promotes business growth
- Fosters team collaboration and engagement
- Increases employee satisfaction
- Increases career and professional value
How to implement Lifelong Learning habits in your organization
There’s no perfect formula when it comes to instilling Lifelong Learning habits throughout your organization, as each individual takes on a different approach to learning. However, there are some common steps and strategies that can guide companies who wish to develop their workforce in the right direction.
- Find a learning strategy that makes sense for your organization
Learning is not the same experience for everyone. Find out which learning strategy makes the most sense for your company and employees depending on its size, industry, skills needed, how scalable, flexible or compliant learning needs to be, amongst other factors.
- Create learning goals
Learning becomes more efficient when learners can see a “finish line”. So it’s important to set goals and objectives around learning journey’s to give employees a clear direction of the skills they should be learning and why they should be learning them.
- Be transparent
In order for employees to create learning journeys that are aligned with their career goals, it’s important for their employers to be as transparent as possible about the company’s direction. By communicating which skills the organization needs and what future roles will be opened employees can make more informed decisions about their learning journeys.
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