The labour market has been changing drastically in the last couple of decades. A lot of traditional 20th-century jobs no longer exist, while new positions keep emerging year after year.
People don’t spend their entire careers in one place anymore. On the contrary, the average tenure of the US worker is now slightly above four years. In such circumstances, professionals in all fields of work have to evolve and keep developing new skills to stay competitive in the long run.
But how is this even possible? How can learning and development measures be adapted for sustainable skill development? Keep reading to find out!
Basic Skill-Acquiring Preconditions
Skills development is a concept that represents the acquisition of practical competencies, know-how, and attitudes necessary to perform a trade or occupation in the labour market. While it sounds highly complex and demanding, the process actually begins in the preschool stage.
The entire education system is designed so as to train young people and develop their cognitive, social, and technical skills. However, the situation is not the same everywhere. A lot of regions and societies require thorough and systematic changes to embrace the requirements of the modern labour market.
They need to take a whole set of measures to ensure:
- Accessibility: Governments should invest more in the academic infrastructure, opening more schools and training centres.
- Availability: It’s critical to prevent discrimination against any group or minority, allowing everyone to learn and gain new skills cheaply or even free of charge.
- Quality: Accessibility and availability won’t make a big difference if children are not given the high-quality education.
- Relevance: Education systems have traditionally been inert and change-resistant, but now it’s necessary to follow the market trends and provide students with the most relevant skills and learning models. For instance, finance students should be granted access to services like accounting help online or any other type of resource that helps them study faster and more efficiently.
You might be wondering now: Okay, some countries or regions need to invest more in their education systems, but what has really changed here? After all, children all across the globe still go to schools and then enrol colleges and universities, getting ready for future jobs.
The answer is very simple – everything we mentioned is just not enough anymore. Only lifelong learning has the potential to produce generations of successful and productive professionals.
How to Ensure Sustainable Skill Development
According to the report, people participate in non-formal education and training mainly so that they can do their jobs better or advance their careers, or both. That’s exactly the purpose of lifelong learning – to enable continuous development and help professionals adapt to the evolving market demands.
There are two basic ways to engage in lifelong learning:
- Self-initiative: It’s your duty to keep working hard, exploring alternative ideas, and embracing new business skills and techniques. But you should not consider it a sheer professional task, but rather try to approach it as the means of self-fulfilment.
- Company initiative: Lifelong learning is not the one-way street. On the contrary, companies also need to invest in the extracurricular education of their employees. A study reveals that offering career training and development would keep 86% of Millennials from leaving their current position.
Skill development should be based on the so-called 70/20/10 rule. In this case, 70% of your knowledge comes for the practical experience you gain at work. This includes activities like project management, problem-solving, and similar everyday duties.
The 20% part is reserved for interpersonal communication. Namely, you can learn a lot of things simply by taking part in meetings, talking to your supervisors, mentoring a new employee, and talking to the clients.
The last portion of skill development should come from alternative learning opportunities. These include both off and online seminars, courses, training camps, industry conferences, and similar events.
Using this system, you should be able to acquire a whole set of skills in the long-term perspective. It will make you a more versatile employee who can easily jump from one department to another without facing too many difficulties in the process. The ultimate goal is to develop four types of skills and become a super-productive professional:
Learning skills: It’s true, the learning itself becomes a skill in the modern era because it ensures maximum adaptability.
Digital data literacy: Needless to say, today’s employees have to understand and use digital technologies. While it’s impossible to learn everything in this department, you can focus on a more specific area closely related to your occupation.
Emotional intelligence: Soft skills are becoming quintessential, so you better take advantage of emotional intelligence, organizational communication, and leadership skills.
Creative thinking: Now that the majority of everyday work is automated, companies need more workers who are able to think creatively and contribute to the team with fresh suggestions and ideas.
Lifelong learning and professional evolution are not theoretical concepts, but rather a full-time necessity of the 21st century. Professionals who want to stay competitive in the labour market don’t have another choice but to keep acquiring new skills year after year.
In this post, we showed you how learning and development can be adapted for sustainable skill development. It’s a long and challenging process, but extremely important for the future of the global workforce.