Many reports argue that the most successful people in life are lifelong learners. Life-Long Learners carry on learning and developing their skills throughout their careers. Here are just three factors why Life-Long Learning is important:
1/ Since the pandemic, thousands of us have had to adapt to new ways of working and new tech
2/Technical advances have created and reshaped business models, homeworking and even new home-based businesses
3/ With greater life expectancy, pension being drawn later, we are working longer, and many people are moving into second careers
For example, my first job in sales involved walking door to door and cold calling. It was a year before I got the 'Brick' phone from my boss. Internet was the World Wide Web, 'Social' was a working man's pub, and Media was the 'So not PC' TV & Radio adverts.
The new skills and tech I've learned in my 30-year career as a salesperson, business owner, and now as an apprenticeship business advisor have been vast. And I am still learning more about BIG DATA, CYBER, LEADING TEAMS, DIGITAL - the list goes on…
The government is now funding many adult courses such as digital boot camps, mental health, accounting, construction, life coaching and tech skills, which underpins their belief in the Importance of Life-Long Learning and Skills development.
Soft Skills are becoming increasingly important
Ensuring that teams have the tools to produce is not enough; the top skills business owners and managers need to possess or learn are Soft Skills.
Back in my sales days, this would raise many bosses' eyebrows, but according to a report by Professor Cary Cooper, "The challenge for HR is how to train its existing cohort in this and not just promote people on just technical skills".
So, what does this mean for business owners?
'Skills including Emotional, Collaboration, Personal Development, Growth Mindset and People Management are the soft skills that we should be looking to learn and employ to sustain staff wellbeing and growth'. I would also argue that we should use these skills when dealing with customers as they are increasingly making emotional purchasing decisions based on brand, sustainability and CSR.
All well and good! But how does one combine these skills alongside business growth, management and budgeting? And deploy these skills throughout a business in the right way? For larger businesses, some companies employ mentors and coaches. However, for SMEs, this is not always an option.
A step-by-step approach could be the answer by choosing relevant courses for relevant job roles. For example, Management and Leadership courses will cover just that; time and people management, team collaboration and building, perfect for managers and business owners. Mental Health and Safeguarding might be more relevant for employees working with the vulnerable or supervisors overseeing homeworking teams. Project management courses will help managers pull together project teams with the right skills and collaborate with external and internal groups.
As we recover from the pandemic and with external factors affecting the economy right now, it's understandable that employers might see training as an expense in cost and time. But there are cost-effective and flexible means to upskill your teams.
Apprenticeship training courses are 95% government-funded, and Levy employers have no fees to pay.
Training providers offer more than Apprenticeship placements. Aspire to Learn promote the benefits of three principles Recruit, Retrain, Retain and help our client's businesses and learners evolve.
What we can all be sure of is this. We are not going back to the old way of living or doing business. There is more to learn, and the need to learn and adapt to the changing business world is lifelong.
Don't take my word for it!
"Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." Albert Einstein
18 Mar 2022