Group of people looking at a screen of a course and training portal pointing to the next course they are going to do

September 16, 2019

Ángel Fraga VarelaÁngel Fraga Varela
Founder of Instituto Galego do Talento & Sales Advisor

Continuous training or professional death

The world is changing faster and faster and we should remember the wise words of Charles Darwin: “The species that survive are not the strongest or the most intelligent, but those that are best adapted to change”. These words adapted to the professional world could be something like: “The professionals who survive are not the hardest workers or the most intelligent, but those who best adapt to change”.

Let's not be alarmed. No one is going to die for not studying and acquiring new skills. No one is going to throw us to the lions for not knowing more languages, nor are we going to starve for not updating ourselves in the areas in which we thought we were experts. Your physical health will not be compromised, but your professional health may deteriorate, reaching the point of professional coma or even premature death, by being excluded from the system for not contributing value.

Decades ago, those who studied a career had a successful future waiting for them. Years passed and a master's degree became necessary to differentiate themselves. Languages gained weight with the globalization of the economy and today we are already talking about the fact that it will be essential to know how to program in almost any profession. Have we gone crazy? Nothing further. With the advancement of technology, changes are becoming faster, and for rapid advances, profiles with high resilience and the ability to learn are needed.

Henry Ford said in his day: "There is only one thing more expensive than training a worker and having him leave, not training him and having him stay ". Two lessons can be drawn from this famous quote:

  • Employee training is crucial for the success of a company. For this reason, a company that does not provide you with training is a company doomed to failure or, at least, to stagnation.
  • To increase your bargaining power and ability to choose where to work in the future, you need to continuously train, not only to have an updated profile, but also to show that you are flexible enough to adapt to new sectors and areas of knowledge if necessary.

It seems that the importance of continuous training and updating of knowledge is permeating the Spanish population. At least that's how it emerges from the report 'Training in Companies' of FUNDAE , according to which the number of participants trained by companies increased by 250,003 (6.6%) and exceeded four million compared to the previous year.

In addition to this increase in awareness about continuous training, we can also observe changes in the distribution of training in relation to the modality in which it is given. For example, the figures from Emagister —which hosts the training offer of 100,000 educational centers— show that if in 2015 online training represented 54% of the training offered on its platform, this year it already reaches 67%. On the other hand, according to the latest data provided by the Ministry of Education in the 2016-2017 academic year, the Spanish university system had a total of 1,564,943 students, of which 236,689 did so remotely.

Do I really need further training? I have a degree, two master's degrees and several courses. Why do I want more if I am an expert in my area?

We live in a changing world. Some call it a change of era, others the 4th Industrial Revolution, others do not give it a name and some still have not heard of it. There is more and more innovation and, as I said at the beginning, changes and advances are happening with greater speed and frequency.

University students graduate with obsolete knowledge, what they studied 4 years ago in their first degree has already advanced, it has changed. The professional who has been working for 20 years will almost certainly have changed his way of working completely from the beginning.

The moment you consider yourself an expert in something, you are no longer one. I heard this statement recently at a conference, and what it comes to tell us is that we have to continuously train and update ourselves.

During the last World Economic Forum and, according to a survey made by PwC:

  • 63% of Spanish CEOs consider that it is difficult or very difficult to find expert profiles in digitization.

In addition, as also indicated in the report Future of Job of the same Economic Forum:

  • 35% of the key skills for a job will change between 2015 and 2020.

This speed of change and the need that companies have for digital talent makes the need evident.

Does continuous training mean a collection of master's degrees?

No, not anything further. We tend to associate training with the idea of regulated training. Career, master's or university courses for which we must pay an amount, do certain hours depending on the credits and take an exam.

Doing a master's degree or a postgraduate university course is continuous training, but it is not the only option. Today we have numerous sources of training that adapt to almost any need for knowledge and any desire to delve into a specific topic.

Training is reading blogs, following professionals in a sector and reading their articles on LinkedIn, reading specialized magazines or follow a Youtube channel on the subject of which we want to acquire knowledge or update the one we already have.

How to reconcile continuing education with professional life?

In recent years we have seen progress in the online modality in different types of studies, as reported by El País in its article "Five keys to study an online degree or master's degree and not give up on the attempt", which highlights the year-on-year increase in the online or distance training offer.

This growth in the online training offer makes it easier for active professionals to not only be able to adjust the schedule to their needs, but also to access training from Universities and Business Schools in which they could not study due to the distance that separate.

And we are not only talking about university studies, we can take the example of languages. Today there are countless online tools that allow you to train from scratch in any of them, practice and learn from natives.

Infoempleo and Adecco, in a study of more than 300,000 job offers published in Spain, reveal that close to 40% of job offers in the Community of Madrid require knowledge of a foreign language, assuming this data is an interannual increase of almost a point from the previous year. Do we have an excuse not to apply for these positions with the tools we have at our disposal?

Still thinking continuing education isn't for you?

If you have read this, you are probably considering or already have a clear idea of continuing to train? We must see training as something good that helps us grow not only as professionals, but also as people.

Today we have the necessary tools so that training is something that complements our day to day without sacrificing our personal lives.


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