Top Ten Tips for... getting back into learning
At cHRysos we’re big advocates of learning – whatever your age, experience or stage in your career and that’s why we’re so excited about the upcoming Festival of Learning.
Formerly known as Adult Learners Week, the festival is the biggest celebration of lifelong learning in the UK and takes place between 17 and 23 June.
If you would like to know more about how you can develop your skills and experience, whether during the festival period or beyond, then here are our top tips:
1. Get inspired
The Festival of Learning shows the vast array of people who have gained so much from learning as adults and their stories are really inspiring. The festival’s award winners show how life-changing, rewarding and exciting learning something new can be. You are likely to have similar inspirational learners in your workplace who can mentor you, so why not seek them out?
2. Know when the time is right
If you feel stuck in a rut at work or are simply in need of a change, then working towards a new qualification could be the key to rejuvenating your career or starting a new one entirely. It may be that you’ve been made redundant and the situation has been forced upon you – but learning new skills as an adult could be the silver lining. Check out Ursula Stone’s experience on the Festival of Learning website here:
3. Consider your existing qualifications and experience
Before you start to look for new training and learning opportunities it’s always good to reflect on what qualifications and skills you may already have. Grab a notebook and start to make a checklist, including formal qualifications you gained at college and university but also any training you’ve had at work. Then consider how you want to expand on this in future. You might want to stay on the same path or revamp your career entirely.
4. Think about your personal skills
Learning and development isn’t just about qualifications and a smart CV but also about the way you have personally evolved. Considering what your strongest personal attributes are now you’re older and wiser and how you want to progress further is just an important. For example, you might want to develop your management or team leadership skills or your confidence in a certain aspect of your job.
5. Think about the health benefits of learning
We know that continuing to learn when you get older is a great way of keeping your brain alert and healthy. The pride we feel at learning new skills or achieving a qualification can also be a real confidence boost and good for our mental wellbeing.
Stephen Bush took early retirement from his career in social services to care for his mother who had Alzheimer’s disease. He is now a passionate advocate of adult learning, believing it can play an instrumental role in staving off dementia. You can find out more about the 2017 Festival of Learning award winner online here.
6. What will make you more employable?
If you’re thinking of taking the next step on the career ladder, you need to know what qualifications or experience is key to getting you there. What will get you the job you’re after? It’s worth asking your existing colleagues how they climbed the career ladder and what further development they would recommend. If you’re missing a crucial qualification, research which educational establishments run courses near you and how much they cost.
7. Join the learning community
The Festival of Learning community aims to bring together people from different learning providers and organisations which play a part in the festival as a whole. The group supports the conversation between the festival’s organisers and the community members. It’s a great networking and engagement opportunity and the chance to give something back to other adult learners. You can find out more online here.
8. Don’t let anything hold you back
A tough start doesn’t mean you can’t go on to exceed your own expectations or those of others. You may have failed in the past but that doesn’t mean learning is completely off the cards for you for ever. Everyone deserves another chance to develop themselves and to be the best they can be. Terrie Cornwell-Dunnett was the Festival of Learning’s Patron’s Award winner in 2018 and you can read about how persistence paid off for her online here. Andrew Humphries was also highly commended for his commitment to learning despite struggling with dyslexia. You can also read his story here.
9. Think about whether you will enjoy it
Any extra-curricular study is going to take willpower and determination. You’re going to need to give up your time and invest a lot of effort into it. Ideally, you also want to be studying or working towards something which you really enjoy. The Festival of Learning aims to inspire us to ‘love to learn.’ Deciding what and how to study as an adult is exciting because you get to choose – there’s no subjects forced onto you like at school or the pressure from parents to succeed, which younger people at university may feel.
10. Think about your support network
It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t need some support to achieve your goals, especially if you’re juggling adult responsibilities like work commitments, childcare and a social life if you still have time! It’s worth having a discussion with your boss or mentor at work to see if they can help you in any way, such as by offering flexible working hours or a quiet space to study. It’s also wise to speak to your family about the extra commitment you’re taking on and how they can help you free up some time.
For more information about our adult learning courses at cHRysos, get in touch – we’d love to inspire your next steps.
Julie Gordon is the Managing Director of cHRysos HR Solutions, a Doncaster based HR training and consultancy company providing CIPD and CMI accredited qualifications nationwide, as well as HR Consultancy to SMEs. For more information about how cHRysos HR can help you return to study and achieve further qualifications contact Julie on email@example.com or call +44 (0)1302 802128.