Continous education or die…
While working one the development of my site, I have recently been working with a rather skilled computer programmer/ coder from Vietnam. During our skype conversations he mentioned that he was going to night school. Then I remembered that one of the providers we used in Dubai specialised in “night school” classes – their main income. This got me thinking – why in the UK is there such a small percentage of people paying for themselves to go to night school?
Talking to my Vietnam contact, he told me that in the IT world, if he completes a number of accredited vendor certificates this counts towards his degree. This model appears to be common place in what may be considered 3rd world or former 3rd world countries. With the current student tutor fees on the increase in the UK, maybe it is time for us to have a new/ updated model of education.
On-going learning and development
My experiences over the last 20 or so years suggest that less and less evening/ weekend education is available for people wanting to educate themselves for their careers. Sure there are “distance” or on-line options. But in the main these are for professional bodies and not “general development”. Have we in the west adopted an attitude which is reliant on others for our future development and employability?
It is interesting that in the “alternative market”, the therapies etc, there are a plethora of such options, but why not for training, management, leadership etc? Is it wrong for more “main stream” development to be offered this way? Is it down to costs? Are providers looking to generate unsustainable returns for such work? Or is it more fundamental than that?
Is it a cultural thing?
In the middle east and the far east, it is usual for people not only to educate themselves, but to keep up with this education in an ongoing and sustainable way. In the UK/ US have we abdicated the majority of this to our employers? Could it be that many training courses “fail” to deliver changes in performance, not because the content is poor, but that as participants we are increasingly expecting to be “fed” solutions? We do not own the training, education or need for performance changes in the same way.
When as learners we have “some skin in the game” we are more likely to take the opportunity more seriously. Are we missing a trick in this time of austerity, and as individuals have we woken up to the fact that to remain employable we need to “beat” or compete with our peers. Increasingly this will mean those that are up to date and have taken life long responsibility for their education (in its broadest sense) will have a real head start in this “game” called employment.
Latest unemployment figures in the UK suggest that we are heading towards a 10% unemployment rate, the highest since the early 1990s, and all expectations are that this will rise in the coming 24 months.
Keeping up with the Joneses
Who are the Joneses? do we know? At one time they were our next door neighbours, sometimes they are our peers – but taking this and looking at the future and employability are the Joneses our competitors not just for the “job position” but for the role even existing within our local or national economy?
Do we look just at what our professional bodies are looking for or do we look to the markets which are rapidly developing and eager to take our sterling and dollars in exchange for work, intellect and effort. Its no longer the “low skilled” manufacturing that is going to overseas markets, but the value add, high-tech work too.