In today’s increasingly globalised, connected and technologically advanced world, lifelong learning is fast becoming an increasingly vital and sought-after strength in the workforce.
For countries like Singapore that rely heavily on its human resources, digital transformations are driving a greater focus on the promotion of lifelong learning to build workforce resilience.
This topic also became a key point of discussion at the inaugural SUSS Ministerial Forum 2019 where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the guest-of-honour. Here are some of the vital takeaways from these discussions:
Setting yourself apart from the crowd can be a daunting task in today’s competitive business world.
To this end, making a point to constantly upgrade our skills can help us stay ahead of the competition. We live in a very different economic environment characterised by volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity. These constant changes and disruptions which take place in today’s business world mean that we must find ways to gain new skills to avoid being displaced.
Our career pathways have also transformed as a result, with a growing number of people who do not enjoy lifelong employment, unlike in the past.
People do not stay in roles unless they have the right competencies which are required by an organisation. Thus, taking the initiative to re-skill or up-skill oneself is a good way to future-proof one’s career pathway.
For businesses, Industry 4.0 technologies hold tremendous potential in transforming their business models and creating new value in an increasingly competitive business landscape. For employees, this change calls for a relook at one’s skills, roles and contributions.
New technologies such as blockchain or automation are transforming the role humans and robots play in the workplace of tomorrow. Their prevalence also raises pertinent questions about the skills we need to possess to give ourselves an edge over machines.
Many studies argue that soft skills, such as innovation, creativity, design, critical thinking and emotional intelligence, are qualities that robots cannot replicate. Not just yet.
At the same time, we should not neglect hard skills and assume that machines will be able to take the lead in this aspect. Only with the necessary hard skills in place, will we be able to know how to manage tasks in situations where such technologies fail.
Teaching and learning do not necessarily take place in structured or formal learning environments alone. Groundbreaking discoveries can also be made in unstructured or informal learning situations too.
We need to take steps to condition ourselves to look outside of the campus to explore non-traditional avenues, such as internships or training courses to build one’s skill set.
Whatever you do, the benefits of lifelong learning go beyond career opportunities.
Furthermore, the World Economic Forum has established learning throughout life is good for your health, wealth, civic engagement, prospects and personal well-being.
A progressive facelift of our educational system by broadening opportunities for students to develop their proficiencies in a variety of hard and soft skills is necessary if we want to make lifelong learning more appealing, if not, an integral part of their lives.
To this end, the government has already made strides to revamp the PSLE by 2021 by replacing the current T-score system with scoring bands. The onus is now on parents to do their part to encourage their children to look beyond academic achievement.
Students should be given more opportunities to discover their interests and talents, develop a sense of curiosity and a love for learning at a young age.
Watch more videos: SUSS Ministerial Forum 2019