by Chris Wattie, Senior Professional Development Facilitator @ TP3
In the current economic environment, many among us are facing unparalleled challenges. The unemployment rate recently hit six per cent for the first time in over ten years and, according to The Australian, economists expect little improvement in the job market in the months ahead.
Many organisations large and small, and industries including the much-publicised auto and air transport industries to name just two, are under extreme pressure.
Supporting people to acquire the skills that lay the foundations for innovation, and which match future employment needs, is a clear and present solution to this crisis.
So, how do we best support our people in today’s rapidly changing workplace environment?
According to well-documented research, relevant and ongoing learning is an excellent strategy to future-proof both organisations and individual careers. Indeed, continuous learning has become a requirement for competence and success in many workplaces.
But with all the options available, what learning strategy will give all stakeholders the best return on investment?
MBAs used to be a guarantee, but not anymore. Once upon a time a graduate from a Masters of Business Administration program could write an employment ticket anywhere and enjoy immediate prestige in the business world.
Times have changed. According to Harvard Business Review, MBA programs are facing increasing, intense criticism for failing to impart useful skills and prepare leaders—and even failing to lead graduates to good corporate jobs.
Equal in importance to academic knowledge and corporate experience are those aforementioned “useful skills” such as competence in managing self and ability to communicate effectively, manage people and projects, innovate, and manage change.
These skills and competencies—once “nice to haves” but today essential for workplace success—are not traditionally included in university curricula. As a result, it can be a humbling experience for graduates when the move from college into the workplace. Accordingly, prospective MBA students should take a critical look at themselves before investing in an expensive degree program.
And you may have heard the acronym MOOC, which stands for “massively open online course.” Another development of the technology wave, a MOOC allows learners to watch short, modular units, complete homework assignments and receive certificates on a huge variety of subjects. All that’s needed is a computer, access to the internet and the motivation to complete the course.
The Australian Financial Review recently described MOOCs as a “phenomenon revolutionising education” but because of surprisingly low completion rates and other teething issues, the jury is still out as the learning industry continues to explore pure MOOC-versus-blended learning models. To be sure, there is a sense that the way forward for MOOCs is unclear.
ELearning, on the other hand, has been available for a while and is now extremely sophisticated, ideal for both “tick-the-box” training and hard skills reinforcement, complex scenarios and role playing-based interventions, and much more.
That said, eLearning technology cannot yet deliver the high degrees of immediacy and personal attention provided by a personal trainer. What’s also needed is the online intervention in the form of discussion, encouragement and understanding of the individual learner’s needs.
That’s exactly what’s been added to online learning with TP3’s new Virtual Training offerings. In these virtual classes with live instruction and support from TP3 facilitators, learners are guided through short, 90-minute sessions and in the location of their choice. Check out our Virtual Training page if you’re interested in learning more about this popular learning innovation.
So, if the key to success and security in the workplace is no longer an MBA, if MOOCs aren’t for everyone, and if online learning isn’t yet the total, all-embracing solution needed to ensure organisational sustainability, what is there?
Answer: a nationally recognised, workplace-based qualification.
Qualifications simply make good business sense. They are not just about knowledge but also about applying that knowledge to the workplace. This is important because learning research suggests people typically may remember only five per cent of what they hear in a lecture—but that figure increases to around ninety per cent when they teach someone else or use the information immediately.
This makes workplace application highly relevant, helping to embed learning and dramatically increasing return on investment. Feedback from our participants continually validates this:
• “Clear delivery of information in short bursts that allowed for processing of information”
• ”I liked the logical sequence and opportunity to practice”
• “Great mix of practical and theory”
• “I really appreciated that it was all transferable to our workplace situations.”
You get the idea.
Nationally recognised, workplace qualifications provide a number of important benefits for both employers and employees.
For employers these include increasing employees’ skills, experience and motivation, leading to improved staff morale, retention, performance, productivity, relationships and loyalty.
And because the Australian Government views enhancing workforce productivity through learning and development as a key responsibility—and high-quality skills learned at certificate- and diploma-level as integral to maintaining and increasing the nation’s competitiveness in a global marketplace—developing employees through nationally recognised qualifications such as TP3’s Diploma and TAE programs can attract government funding for many organisations.
From an employee’s perspective the most significant benefit of workplace-based training is the opportunity to become more competent. This opens up new opportunities to step up, diversify and put oneself in the frame for career growth. Importantly, a qualification can also lead to improved satisfaction and sense of well-being.
In summary, ongoing learning is essential to remaining “current” in the modern workplace. And while there’s a strong case to be made for any and all types of continuous learning, a word to the wise: consider a workplace-based qualification.
Earning a qualification may be exactly what you can do today to future-proof your business or career from tomorrow’s competitive environment and challenges.
Take a look at the TP3 suite of qualifications on offer here.