I’ve left school, why do i have to learn?

“I’ve left school, why do I need to learn?” is a question I get asked so many times, and my answer is always the same. We learn every day, without learning we would not engage in or experience life.

Learning allows us to develop and deepen skills, increase knowledge, understanding, awareness, values, ideas and feelings. Put simply, learning leads to change, development and the desire to learn more.

So what does this mean for community groups?

In the era in which my parents grew up, traditionally they would leave school and get a ‘job for life’. Job security was everywhere and people could plan their whole lives up until retirement if they wanted to, however as I write this today we are in a very different position. While money is still important, we all have to live, in society today, giving something back to others is becoming increasingly popular. More people are volunteering, more people are choosing careers where they get personal satisfaction and more and more are giving something back to their communities. Whether you volunteer or get paid, working in a community group requires knowledge and skill, things that you would have never learned in school. This is why learning is so important.
We have also seen a shift in the way we work. Flexible working, home-working, part-time jobs, job-shares and volunteering to name a few. The options for employment and volunteer opportunities are unrecognisable to 20 years ago and while this is fantastic, there is a risk that those with specific skills will fall through the net as they are highly skilled and experienced in one bespoke area.

People change, the world changes and expectations change. If you want your community to thrive in a world where competition for funding is fierce you need to invest in yourself, your staff and volunteers. Staff and volunteers who have access to training and development are happy staff and volunteers, happy staff and volunteers are loyal staff and volunteers and loyal staff and volunteers share your values and passion and will go that extra mile to help you to make a difference.

A wise man once said ‘the only constant in life is change’ (thanks Dad!!) and without learning and development do we really change?

And finally, some food for thought…

People who have an opportunity to continually learn and develop their skills and capacities:

  • Make our economy grow and develop
  • Ensure that their children develop a love of learning and take full advantage of education
  • Actively participate in their own communities and civil society
  • Support and respect people with different cultural beliefs and abilities
  • Respect and protect the environment for future generations
  • Nurture creativity and imagination
  • Live healthy and fulfilled lives

So: Investing in training and development as an adult makes sense for EVERYONE.