Apr 18, 2018

Continuing Education during our Work Years - Effective meh?


When I was in my twenties, it seemed to me at that time that I have spent my entire life in a classroom. From kindergarten to university, I have been sitting through countless of classes, lectures, seminars and mugged through the agonising tests, quizzes and exams.

I don't know about you, but I spent the better part of my schooling life falling asleep in lecture theatres or skipping a lecture in university because I needed my beauty sleep. I still remember being absolutely ecstatic as I finished the last question of my university exam paper and thinking, "Woohoo, now I am done with school! I will never have to sit for an exam or go to school AGAIN!"

And like almost every other thing in life, things do not always go according to plan.

Joining the workforce made me realise that learning is even MORE important now than it was back during my university days. Memorising complex trigonometric formulas certainly did not prepare me for the skills I needed to further my career - skills like negotiating, presentation, or even dealing with other people. Even for blogging, the terms Photoshop, web design and analytics sounded foreign to me (they still do now to a certain extent).

So what do I have to do?

Go back to the classroom to start learning again.

And it turns out that learning something new not only helps my brain function more effectively, but improves focus, overall confidence, and self-esteem. It’s also a great way to get social, meet new friends, and expand my professional network too.

I have to admit though, that going back to the classroom was not as easy as I first thought it would be. For starters, I'm (much much much) older now and my brain has been rusty after all these years. Juggling family and work commitments TOGETHER with a new course is also more tiring than expected.

Which is why picking a suitable yet relevant course is always important, especially if the course is offered on a part-time basis, online or even short and modular format.

And this where SP PACE comes in for all working people like me and you.

Part of Singapore Polytechnic (SP), Professional and Adult Continuing Education (PACE) Academy - or SP PACE for short - is a multi-disciplinary Continuing Education and Training (CET) Academy, committed to providing quality CET programmes for Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs).

It offers industry-relevant courses in adult learning in different categories such as part-time courses, diploma courses, workforce skills qualification courses, short and modular courses - both online and classroom based. You can view all of the course offered in details HERE.

And best of all, some of PACE Academy's courses are aligned with the SkillsFuture Initiative providing more flexible learning options with skills and competency-based courses in 8 essential emerging skills areas: Data Analytics, Cyber Security, Finance, Entrepreneur, Tech Enabled Services, Advanced Manufacturing, Digital Media, Urban Solutions.

All very relevant in today's age, no?

Of the 8, SP PACE’s specialization of the SkillsFuture Series course is Advanced Manufacturing, which is perfect news if you are looking to upgrade yourself in this area of work.

The SkillsFuture courses are are tiered across 3 proficiency levels: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. So no matter which level of continuing education you wish to pursue, there is definitely one suited to your needs.

And great news for Singapore Citizens & Singapore Permanent Residents! You get to enjoy 70% subsidy of the course fee. Above 40 years old like me? Then say hello to a 95% subsidy of course fee! And the fee payable after the subsidy can be paid using your SkillsFuture Credit. It's like upgrading myself for free! LOL.

Personally, I have always wanted to upgrade Digital Media skills because when I first started blogging 13 years ago, there was no Facebook, no Twitter and no Instagram. The social media landscape has definitely evolved at a breakneck speed since then and upgrading my digital media skills is a must to keep myself in the game.

A big part of all that digital media ascendancy now is videos... which I think SP PACE's VR 360 FILMMAKING course might be useful for me.

By the end of the 2-day workshop, I will be armed with the tools, knowledge and skills required to create my own live action immersive experiences using their phones and other tools. Long story short, I will be able to level up my game after that!

These days, we often hear or read about news that new technologies and robots are taking over our jobs and that we workers may be rendered redundant soon. But in truth, these technologies are covering more manual work so it is important for us to upgrade our knowledge and skills to add more value to our company. By upgrading ourselves, it means that we will potentially get a higher paying job, or one that offers better career longevity.

So is continuing education - even in your forties and fifties - important? I believe that is a rhetorical question.

The great thing about SP PACE is it actually has a lot more courses to offer. Besides the digital media course I mentioned, they also have courses for Manufacturing, IT, Entrepreneurship, and even online courses!

Because one should not stop learning once we start working. Learning need not be in a traditional classroom and surely, it doesn't need to burn a deep hole in your pocket - make full use of the subsidies and SkillsFuture Credit and it may just be key to your career success.

Most important of all, something tells me it will be far more fun than a trigonometry math class.

For more information on SP PACE, visit www.sp.edu.sg/wps/portal/vp-spws/pace

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