Many people choose to go to work and earn money as opposed to opting for further full-time education and there are many valid reasons to choose either path.
For those who place education first on their list of priorities they see a full-time commitment to pursuing additional qualifications as their best opportunity to ultimately find a career which they will enjoy and feel suited to and they are quite willing to sacrifice an income now for the benefits of both their own job satisfaction and the potential of higher earnings later on.
However, there are many people who like the look of a particular company and/or job who choose to earn money now and to review their educational qualifications later.
Additionally, there are others, who may go to college or university then get a job and yet still want to pursue other qualifications as well.
So, what are the options open to you if you are in work and still want to learn new skills?
Learndirect is not just for people who are working and who wish to gain further qualifications, people from all walks of life use it. However, its ‘Learning Through Work Scheme’ enables people to study for a short course or a qualification equivalent to university level without the need to take time off work. As a lot of these courses can be done at home and at any time, you can even consider enrolling on one without your employer’s knowledge but many employers will actively support these kinds of courses anyway and will often pay or contribute for the cost of the course, as long as it’s relevant to your job.
If you are a member of a Trade Union you will be able to access a Learning Representative who can assist you with any training needs you might require in order to progress within your job.
In-house or Employer Recommended Training
Employers recognise the need for a highly skilled workforce and are often only too keen to give their staff the opportunity to learn new skills in order to work more productively and to equip them with the tools to help them to make a career progression in the form of a promotion. Therefore, it might be the employer themselves who provide either in-house training, or who specify the kinds of qualifications they would like their staff to undertake in relation to their specific role and career aspirations and where to take these qualifications.
Courses might be purely vocational or academic or a combination of both. In many cases, they will be ongoing short courses that can fit in to a regular working pattern. In other instances, your employer may pay you your regular salary and give you the opportunity to take educational leave a lengthy period in order to study at college or university.
On the Job Training
Other ways of learning new skills may simply not be about gaining further qualifications but about observing others and being given the opportunity to practice for yourself new skills from more experienced work colleagues which can enhance your prospects within a company. This can be through both watching and learning ‘on the job’ or setting time aside to learn new skills away from the shop floor but in a classroom on site.
Investors in People
For some workers, having a job with a steady income is enough in itself but for those who wish to have a job where the company takes training and the development of its staff seriously, one of the best ways of identifying these kinds of companies are to see if they carry the ‘Investment in People’ logo on any of their literature, letterheads or in any of their job advertisements. If they do, it means that the organisation has made a firm commitment to the training and development of their staff within the ‘Investors in People’ guidelines.
For those who do get to learn new skills whilst at work, it usually makes for a much happier and motivated employee who is more likely to enjoy their job, more likely to progress and move up the ranks and more likely to make it easier for them to find good employment prospects elsewhere if they decide to leave their employer to look for pastures new.
The beauty is that it is never too late to learn and many workers who left school years ago with few or no qualifications have gone on to become highly skilled people, often highly qualified and working in important roles within their companies.