From work for life to training for life | Online Education


Work for life is a thing of the past. There are exceptions, of course, but the labor paradigm has been blown up, mainly due to technological advances and the increasing automation of many processes. The latest report Future of Jobs Report of the World Economic Forum advances that, in the coming years, up to 375 million people around the planet will have to change jobs and improve their professional skills to adapt to digital innovations. In other words, the validity of the knowledge that is acquired is less and less, and a worker will have to reinvent himself several times throughout his career.

The idea that learning ended with obtaining a degree has mutated into the concept that you can always learn something new, even if you have already entered the world of work. In that lifelong learning, According to the English term, there are no exceptions, because at all times it will be necessary to adapt to the new digital tools, which are relentlessly transforming the labor market. For this reason, it is advisable to prepare to properly face this new attitude towards life.

First key: be very focused

Enric Serradell, Professor of Economics and Business Studies at the UOC.

“Our parents or grandparents worked in one or two companies. It will not be unusual for our children to do it in between five and eight at the same time ”, predicts the professor of Economics and Business Studies at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), Enric Serradell. This continuous rotation implies a constant updating of knowledge and skills that can only be achieved through voluntary, permanent, digital, personalized training that is highly focused on specific objectives.

“More and more professionals with apparently stable jobs will follow training with short, medium and long-term objectives,” adds Serradell. The phenomenon is unstoppable and is growing. It is not about accumulating degrees and diplomas in a drawer. The coach Adriana Ugarte specifies that the syndrome of the eternal student who takes a master’s degree and then another and another, has nothing to do with the profile of continuing education, which consists of acquiring specific and very practical skills, which help him to progress and be always up to date.

“Today everything is based on technology, which becomes obsolete in a short time, so it is necessary to learn continuously if you do not want to be left behind. And more from the age of 40. If you don’t recycle, you have it raw ”, agrees Mercè Garcia, a 47-year-old professional who studies Information and Documentation at the UOC. She does it for work reasons, since she has been working as an assistant library technician for almost 20 years and needed specific training for her job.

Mercè Garcia, an assistant library technician, is studying at the UOC to broaden her knowledge in digital management.
Mercè Garcia, an assistant library technician, is studying at the UOC to broaden her knowledge in digital management.

An English philologist by training and with a degree in Humanities, Garcia sought to expand her knowledge in digital information management. “It’s about getting ahead and being more competitive, innovative and efficient in your work. You can always learn more, and it is necessary to keep up to date with the news so as not to be left behind, ”he says.

Stay motivated

Student motivation becomes essential to make the most of a training that will extend throughout life and that must be combined with other activities, such as work, family and leisure. According to Pedro Ruiz, coordinator of the Online Training and Educational Technologies group of the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE): “It is necessary to attend classes with an open mind and not think that, by having studied a degree and to be working, you know everything ”.

It is important that the student knows very well what areas he needs to expand or improve, and be very clear about the objectives he is pursuing with the course in which he is enrolling. It must be a very specific and specialized training, such as small pills geared towards your needs, to obtain technical or specific skills related to your job, or to acquire other skills, such as communication, time management or emotional intelligence.

“When you already have a degree and you exercise it, what you need is to go directly to what you are looking for in order to progress,” says Ugarte. Hence, they tend to be short courses, lasting a few weeks or months, or even very specific sessions with a mentor who guides and accompanies the student.

It is not about starting from scratch, but about completing, updating and specializing our own background

Àngels Fitó, Vice-Rector of the UOC

The UOC’s Vice-Rector for Competitiveness and Employability, Àngels Fitó, agrees with her and insists that it is not a matter of starting over from scratch. “A good part of our competences continue to be valid. What we have to do is evolve as professionals, and that happens to complete, update or specialize even more our own background, “he says. The formula, according to Fitó, is based on a personalized, flexible training of a very limited duration –this way the necessary level of involvement is maintained and interest is not lost– and with variable formats to better respond to these more specific needs.

From the operator to the Human Resources director

Experts agree that labor sectors that require intensive use of technology are more prone to greater updating of their workers, but any professional, whatever the field, sooner or later will need to update. A factory operator who becomes a manager, for example, will need to know the new position and what is required of it. You will learn to control processes, create and present reports, focus on the global vision of the team and govern emotional management and assertiveness, among other issues. And all these skills can be acquired through a specific course.

A professional in the Human Resources area who wants to expand their training in, for example, employee psychology, should not return to university to study a degree or a master’s degree. A program or sessions focused on developing leadership skills, creating career plans, or team building techniques will suffice.

Continuing to study throughout life provides self-confidence, autonomy and empowerment

In this process of continuous training throughout life, both the worker and the company win. On the one hand, employees take charge of their own professional growth and their possibilities for the future, which gives them self-confidence, autonomy and empowerment. And on the other, it facilitates the development of your own personal brand.

Furthermore, it is a plus for companies to have workers with a proactive profile, capable of adapting to changes and turning challenges into opportunities. “The businessman who today does not understand that the training of people is essential for their digital and ecological transformation, will have many difficulties to survive,” they admit from the Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises (Cepyme). Hence, having trained workers is essential to stimulate productivity and competitiveness of companies.


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