Why need to keep learning

Whether you studied for a university degree, or vocational qualifications, it took hard work.

Many hours of ‘hitting the books’, (or Internet browser) were involved.

However what happened after you passed all your exams, and graduated.

Some people of course go on, to study for higher qualifications, such as a PGCE, or Masters Degree.

However many people get a good job, and slowly study less and less.

In the early years of peoples work life, they are keen to learn their new job.

But what about when you are 40 or 50?

A New Chapter

For many people, this age can be the beginning of a new chapter.

I once taught a class of Marine engineers, which included two career changers.

One was a man who had a degree in Chemical engineering, and had worked in a related sales role for most of his working life.

The second was a grandmother in her mid 50s, that was formerly a college lecturer.

The above two people had the confidence to reinvent themselves.

Reinvention of ourselves will become more necessary in the coming years, and everyone will have to make a choice.

Technological Change

Technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), and Machine Learning (Industry 4.0 etc), will replace many of the existing jobs.

For example, why do we need many of the admin roles that currently exist.

If you work in such a role, you surely need to ask yourself, could I be replaced by a machine.

Of course its human nature to say, ‘of course not’,….but are you really sure about that.

Lets take a moment to think about a vending machine company.

The company owns and operates vending machines in places like Swimming Pools and Motorway service stations.

Currently when the cans of  ‘Cherry Cola’ run low (or totally out) in an individual vending machine, the companies admin team needs to be involved.

The admin team will recieve notification from the admin staff at the Swimming Pool, that the vending machine needs more Cherry Cola.

Alternatively, service operatives from the vending machine operators, will have to periodically visit each retail site, to manually check product levels.

As is already happening in the vending machine industry, automated notification, can be employed.

Automated notification of low product levels at individual retail locations, means that you need less admin staff.

The next question is, do we need any admin staff?

Technologies such as 5G will further connect machines to the Internet.

Another example of the decline in the ‘administrator’ role in business, is the car dealership.

One of our own cars is going to be serviced in a couple days time.

We thought it was about due, but had to check the mileage reading (a personal admin task), and then perform a second personal admin task by phoning the Toyota main dealer.

When the admin staff at the car dealer answered the phone, they manually checked for free appointments, and booked the car in for service.

So to book a car in for its service, we have involved in effect, two administrators. One is the customer (us), and the second is the vehicle service centre.

Both of the admin ‘staff’ in the above booking, have created what they refer to in Economics as ‘Opportunity Cost’.

Both have ‘paid’ , the customer (us) with their time, and the Toyota car dealer, with paying for an administrators time (employing them).

Its human nature to want to improve systems, otherwise we would still be living in caves, or even not on land at all (still in the seas)!

With 5G connected cars, the need to manually interact in order to get your car serviced, can be eliminated.

The car will do the communicating for you, via wireless technologies, such as 5G.

You can then be automatically notified of a range of available service appointment times.

In fact the process can be taken a step further, with integration into your online diary, and other commitments.

Whilst the idea of having machines planning your day, might well horrify some people, it could work for businesses (if not members of the public).

Business car fleets for example, can be run more efficiently, by automatically booking the vehicles in for service and maintenance. This can be done in free timeslots, within the set working day.

Ok, so by now you may be thinking that I have gone rather ‘off topic’, as this post is entitled ‘Are you studying hard for your lifelong degree’, but its relevant.

Its relevant because learning now needs to be from Cradle to Grave.

My personal view on a good education in 2019, is one which equips a person with broad transferable skills.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and can only speculate.

In my own personal experience, my degree was useful, and my PGCE (Economics) got me the job I wanted.

But it was the practical engineering skills (Soldering, Repair, Welding, Milling etc) that I learnt aged 17, on an EITB work apprenticeship scheme, which gave me the edge in life and work.

I have a Technology Business Marketing degree, and many of the rules I learnt, are still applicable and relevant.

However, as someone who has been involved with Internet & Marketing since the 1990s (teaching it mainly), it changes rapidly.

If I was still relying on my 1997 final University dissertation about the opportunities & threats of the Internet, I would be severely left behind.

You have to keep learning, you never really leave education. Well not if you want to remain relevant.

@acraigmiles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Craig Miles

Craig Miles