The Examiner

How you can upskill without sacrificing your personal life

How you can upskill without sacrificing your personal life

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The term "lifelong learning" has been around for some time. It means continuing to embrace the opportunity to learn, regardless of age or position.

These days, learning isn't just considered something kids do for a short period in order to gain their first job. Instead, learning can be a lifelong endeavour that some choose to undertake well into their careers to keep them at the top of their game.

Along with the everyday pressures of being good at our jobs, technology and the rapid transformation of systems and processes in the workplace have meant there is also an expectation on employees to keep up with these evolutions to ensure they have sought-after skills.

Upskilling is a great way to enhance current skills or branch out into new areas through recognised courses. It can be provided by an employer or can be self-directed and carried out at a learner's convenience.

Whether you decide to study to improve your career, start a new one, or simply gain a new skill for enjoyment, there are benefits to upskilling that go beyond gaining a formal qualification.

These benefits include:

  • Improved cognitive function
  • Higher value as an employee
  • A connected network to the professional world
  • A sense of achievement, personal growth, and enhanced self-esteem and empowerment
  • Gaining connections with other students and social networks
  • Enhanced quality of life

This uptake in continued learning isn't just a benefit to the individual; it benefits our society. Life spans are increasing, with the median age of the Australian population set to increase to about 45 years by 2051. This means our ageing population is growing. Supporting and prolonging careers in Australia helps keep a rich resource of highly skilled professionals in our communities for longer.

But taking on study as an adult can raise concerns. How can I fit a course into my life? How long will it take? How much will it cost? I haven't studied in years, what if I find it too hard?

In early life, studying is usually a huge part of establishing career paths and involves undertaking full qualifications, intimidating assessment scenarios and a great deal of time and money. These life-forging pathways are usually the main focus in a young student's world, and there is a lot of pressure to succeed.

With some life experience, studying can be more relevant to our more established and secure lives. As a result, the focus tends to shift from "who am I going to be?" to "what would I enjoy learning?" and "what areas do I want to grow in?"

Vocational upskilling courses offered through TAFE and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) provide a flexible, cost-effective way to complete nationally recognised qualifications. Courses can be self-paced, online or in a classroom setting. This modern and accessible way to upskill can ensure that study won't cost you your personal life or impede other priorities.

TAFE upskill options also include short courses which offer practical training in targeted areas - meaning you don't have to complete a full qualification to gain a particular skill.

With the diverse range of courses, different learning methods and specific outcomes available, it is important to compare courses and providers so you can find the right fit for your life. Course comparison sites like streamline this research process and provide learners with all the information they need to know to make the right choice.

With a myriad of benefits and with training more accessible than ever, upskilling can be an excellent investment both professionally and personally. So now could be the time to pick up that pencil, turn on that laptop and enter a new chapter of learning that works for you.

To explore a range of TAFE upskill courses that can easily be intertwined with the rest of your life, you can start here.