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Isn’t It Time You Went Back to School? – Why Learning is Your Next Great Career Move

This month sees the release of The Intern starring Robert De Niro as a widowed retiree, Ben Whittaker, who, aged 70, winds up interning for Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) founder of a fashion website start-up.

While Ben may be interning to keep life fulfilling, the message is clear: you’re never too old to learn. In fact a recent ILM study found that the over fifties rated their keenness to develop at 94% – higher than the millennials who came last with 87%!


Just as corporate agility is seen as key to company longevity, in an ever-changing, global marketplace, ‘learning agility’ is now seen as vital to employee success.

Keeping up-to-date with your area of expertise, and expanding your knowledge in ways relevant to your career clearly details your development and proves your worth to employers.

While the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, cites Continuous Professional Development (CPD) as key to building personal confidence and helping people cope positively with change.


Basically, whether you’re in work or out, aiming for a new role or you yearn to take step up, learning something new can help get you where you want to go.

The key to successful CPD? Track your progress and achievement. The learning you undertake should focus on the benefits professional development can bring you.


With so many options how do you know what to learn?

1. Look at what you can do now
2. Decide on your next role, or aim, and list the key skills required
3. Identify the gaps in your learning or experience

Indeed, the National Careers Service provides a Skills Health Check to help you in this very task.


There are numerous ways of upgrading your skills from participating in work-based activities to attending courses, reading industry publications, conferences and even personal activities.

Examples of personal CPD activities might include: voluntary work, taking on a public duty – like Police Community Support, for example – being involved with the management of a club or society, or maybe even writing a blog or lecturing to showcase expertise and communication skills.


● IT – Two letters never encompassed so much! Almost every job needs IT skills and a CLAiT (Computer Literacy and Information Technology) or European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) will give you internationally and European-recognised qualifications, respectively.

● Communication – Successful communication is key to both inter-team and customer-focused success.The BBC has a free Speaking & Listening section as part of their Skillswise (English & Maths for Adults) course; while drama schools often hold expert communication coaching for those wanting to really hone their technique.

● Emotional Intelligence – EI (also called EQ) may sound kind of fluffy but studies have shown it increases mental health and improves workplace performance. Indeed some researchers suggest EI matters more than IQ and technical skill when it comes to successful leadership! Check out The School of Life and its Certificate of EI.

● Productivity – We all want to increase our productivity, whether it’s our ability to cram a week into a weekend or get that inbox to zero, plus it’s something employers rather like! Think Productive hold Productivity Ninja seminars across the UK, there’s even a book, if you can’t make the seminar, or want to do both.

● Business Management – Know your KPIs from your IPOs? A good grounding in business management will expand your business understanding and can greatly enhance your career prospects as ever more companies want target-focused, budget-savvy employees – Alison, yes that’s a website, has free courses rated around the globe!


Learn in Your Own Time – On a tight schedule? You’re in luck! There are a plethora of online and distance learning study options available to suit you – the Open University has a CPD taster section, here.

Free Courses – Can’t afford it? Future Learn provides courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the globe, for free! You’re even encouraged to liaise as lots or little as you like with co-learners.

Learn While You Earn – Can’t afford the time or money? Some employers will pay for you to train while you’re earning, Angel currently provide on-the-job training for Carers, for example.

Want Reassurance? – CPD UK certifies courses across disciplines in order for organisations to formalise knowledge into a ‘structured and recognised approach to learning’ – in essence, the courses they back are likely to be recognised and accepted as CPD by a variety of employers, yay!

Do Something – If courses aren’t you’re thing, you like the practical approach to learning, or you want to broaden your horizons volunteering via a site like Do-It can provide invaluable experience and build confidence in action.


Make a plan, identify the skills gaps, take the first learning step to improve employability and confidence in one go!

Got any questions? What’s your next step? We’d love to hear what you want to learn next!