The phase lifelong learning (“LLL”) was apparently coined in 1993 by a couple of US academics. It recognizes that learning is not confined uniquely to the classroom and it refers to voluntary on-going, self motivating pursuit of knowledge for professional or personal reasons.
Many of our parents came onto the job market often completely unqualified in the swinging 60s. It was easy to get on the career ladder then, there were masses of jobs.
Fast forward today and the job market is unrecognizable. Qualifications and/or experience are a general prerequisite. Having a degree is very standard and many candidates are highly qualified to the point of hearing the words “overly qualified”.
The same people that joined the job market in the 60s, 70s even the 80s were not born into a world with mobile phones, laptops, websites many of these things simply did not exist. Even if they did technology is changing at such a rapid rate it sometimes seems that anything over and above two years old is well on its way to becoming a museum piece.
In my opinion, never has LLL applied so much to our lives today. Why? Quite simply the pace of change. Companies can no longer offer jobs for life. Many people no longer envisage one career their whole lives. Futurists predict two or three different careers in one lifetime. Technology has already rendered some jobs obsolete or transformed them. Remember videotapes, DVDs, blue-ray and today on-demand streaming services? There is a lot of debate about what jobs technology can replace, however, it a) cannot replace everything and b) it has also created jobs. There are thousands of IT roles that did not exist so long ago! Constant technical evolution will no doubt create other new jobs. We seemingly all have to accept change with good grace and adapt to it.
LLL promotes active citizenship, social inclusion, personal development, self sustainability as well as all importantly competitiveness and employability on the job market, especially a tight one! It also increases self-confidence.
Admittedly LLL doesn’t always come without complications. Once on the career ladder the vast majority of us live with credit, children, responsibilities and daily grind!
Learning can be formal or informal. It doesn’t have to mean a degree or similar. In fact in my own opinion past a certain amount of experience, building on what you’ve already got in terms of experience and qualifications is the way forward for continued employability and salary negotiation. Or perhaps formalising a passion that may bring you a part-time activity, extra revenue or even a total career change.
Indeed the new technology available to us has opened up new avenues for distance-learning or information seeking. We can find training and information not only in France but way beyond our borders, on-line and often to be done in our own time. Not only that but today everyone has an individual training allowance and the possibility of taking time off work to set up a business.
Never has there been a better moment or indeed has it been more vital to recognize our professional short comings and take action to fill the skills gaps, either formally or informally, whether it be to remain competitivewithin the job market, have a career change or simple personal fulfillment. The future is coming, be change ready!
Below are a few addresses, they are just examples, there are thousands …