Lifelong learning… the secret to getting a new job!

Kerri Hansen


Team of people undertaking learning and development

Learning and development within the workforce is no longer just about moving up, it is a fundamental requirement to stay in the game. By 2027, technological change will impact two-fifths of the core skills that workers have today, and half of all workers’ core skills will need to be updated every five years to stay relevant (The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023).  Simply put, this technological paradigm shift is “creating an increasing need to embrace a culture of lifelong learning” (Jobs Report 2023).

What we are coming to know as “Industry 4.0” is here. Our competitive landscape and today’s job market, together with the disruption of the ever-changing Digital Age, has ensured continuous learning and development is crucial to maintaining and updating our skills. We as individuals need to retain our “career currency”.  

“On average we spend 95,000 hours or approximately 45 years in the workforce.”

The University of Queensland has recently referenced statistics indicating our current generation will have up to 17 roles and 5 different careers during their working life. Whether you’re eyeing a promotion, switching industries, or pursuing a new career, embracing learning and development may be the solution you’ve been seeking. We have observed many individuals who embrace continuous learning find new opportunities that might otherwise have been more difficult to attain.

This article explores the great impact learning and development has in shaping your skillset, boosting your confidence, and ultimately preparing you for your future career.

What’s your career development plan?

Employee development plans are a strategic approach to enhancing individual and collective capabilities within organisations. It’s a dynamic process designed to foster continuous growth, improvement and engagement, a method of allowing employees to access knowledge, skills, and insights; it’s important to also focus on how it allows for development and the application and refinement of staff capabilities over time. Development Plans form a synergistic framework that empowers individuals to adapt, innovate, and excel in their professional journey. In the context of career progression, investing in learning and development becomes a foundation, as it actively shapes competencies, boosts your confidence, and propels you toward your career aspirations. Embracing a culture of lifelong learning and development is not merely a professional choice; it’s a strategic pathway to unlocking your full potential and to ensure you stay relevant in today’s ever-evolving employment landscape.

Plan for Success

Finding a new role in a new organisation or even a new role in the same business requires a strategic approach to your career plan. Undertaking intentional learning and development can equip you with the requisite skills, knowledge, and adaptability needed to firstly be considered, and secondly to thrive in a role. It also fosters a proactive mindset essential for navigating the complexities of your next job.

Each of us will have our own career story and creating an individual development plan to support your current and future career will set you up for success.

Personally, I commenced at OnTalent almost five years ago, joining the Careers, Leadership Development and Consulting Team as a Client Partner. I quickly developed a strategic career plan and embraced all learning and development opportunities including self and company-funded learning and development from the get-go.

Yes, I know how privileged I was to kick off my learning journey with access to our own Career Development Program (Amplifi) it was amazing to have this platform and resources at hand. The program gave me the framework to set the foundation for my future learning, which I was able to anchor to my vision, values, and skills attained to support my career purpose and goals. 

Over the past few years, I have completed a Cert IV in Training and Assessment which enabled me to develop and deliver career-related training and workshops to support my role and others in their career transition and development.

In late 2022 I took on a new challenge as the Client Services Manager and enhanced my technical and people skills by attending a multitude of self, team and organisational leadership workshops. This included completing various short courses with the OnTalent network, LinkedIn Learning, and other online learning platforms. I’ve stayed abreast of new trends and important advancements through various publications, research papers and attended specific industry-based training and networking events with the likes of GIA, AIM, AHRI, and RCSA.

Without these opportunities to enhance or gain new skills I would not be as effective as I’ve been in my current role.

Harvard Business Review published an article on Developing Employees in 2022, stating “Effective Learning and Development (L&D) programs are critical for the success of both employees and their employers. Research supports that the way people learn has fundamentally changed…We need to create an environment where you learn, you practice, and you apply it.” These adult learning principles work for me, and I endorse the data indicating that the 10/20/70 model of integrating or applying your learning into your daily activities results in 70% greater retention.

What can YOU do?

Your career journey will be different to mine, for instance, you may be seeking your first board role and trying to identify your gaps and what learning & development you should invest in. Is it an AICD directors course, GIA or something else?

My advice is to take the time to develop your own personal, strategic career plan aligned to your career goals. No matter whether you want to climb the corporate ladder, move from being a technical specialist into management or plan to semi-retire, ensuring your skills will be relevant and current, is essential.

Developing a plan, setting objectives and seeing the path to accomplishing these goals can sometimes be tricky.

  • Speak with your leader or a career coach to develop a tailored strategic career. plan (if you are in need of direction, give me a call).
  • Identify your values, vision and purpose and how they align with your future career.
  • Complete a 360-degree assessment or a skills analysis to identify strengths and areas of development and ongoing development to future-proof your career.
  • Take action and commence your Leaning and Development journey.

You don’t have to commit large quantities of time!

With the internet at your fingertips, you can embrace the convenience of online courses and webinars. Platforms like Amplifi, LinkedIn Learning and specific industry platforms and forums offer a plethora of courses that will help you navigate your career move and create a plan to advance your career at your own pace. Taking the time to invest in programs that align with your career goals and that can provide advancement is paramount to professional growth.

Cultivate a habit of continuous reading. Stay informed about industry trends, best practices, and relevant literature through books, articles, and reputable online publications. Regularly update your knowledge base to remain competitive.

Mentors…everyone should have one

Engaging with professionals “who’ve been there and done that” to consider being your mentor will provide knowledge-sharing, guidance and shared experiences, enhancing your development journey.

Understanding YOU – Stop, Start, Keep

Regularly assess your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Ask your colleagues and direct manager to highlight what they think you can improve on. Reflect on your experiences to identify gaps in knowledge and skills. Establish specific learning goals to address these gaps, fostering a proactive approach to personal and professional development. Reflect on the learning you have commenced and completed and how well it has supported your development. Make this a regular discussion with your leader, mentor or Career Coach, and adjust your strategic and operational career plan (Stop -Start- Keep).

In today’s rapidly changing job market, it’s essential to continuously improve your skills and knowledge. Learning and development opportunities can help you stay competitive, and relevant, and achieve your career goals.

Take Away Tips

  • Know your passion, achievements and ‘sweet spot’
  • Build and nurture your networks – for life
  • Align your skills with future needs
  • Learning is lifelong
  • Think of yourself as ‘Me Inc’
  • Seek out Mentors, Coaches, advocates and your own Personal Board of Directors

In essence, learning and development not only paves the way for success but signifies a commitment to lifelong growth and excellence in an ever-evolving professional landscape.

Please feel free to reach out if you want support or wish to explore how OnTalent can support your growth. 

Kerri has over 25 years’ experience as a strategic client partner within Recruitment, Human Resources, Career, Leadership Development and Relationship Management. As Client Services Manager with OnTalent, her hands on experience, across a range of industries has ensured her depth of knowledge and insights into the operational and strategic challenges of a broad cross-section of organisations. You can reach out to Kerri at [email protected] or call on 07 3305 5800.

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