by Charlotte Gurney
The COVID-19 pandemic created challenging circumstances but also often highlight opportunities for growth. Although it may become tough to drive a career forward when there is so much uncertainty there is still potential for evolution. Learning is one of those resources that continues to be available no matter what is happening with the economy or if you find yourself with not much to do. With organisations increasingly recognising the importance of continuous learning - especially in times of crisis - there are now more opportunities than ever before to invest in yourself now to generate more opportunities in 2021.
Continuous learning is crucial - and satisfying
The financial crisis of 2008 meant many businesses had to find ways to economise. Those that chose to trim learning and training budgets suffered as a result, with chronic shortages of skilled workers and the loss of those who felt that their potential was not being developed. This is a lesson that some enterprises have had to learn the hard way but it has meant that learning and development has (mostly) not been pushed down the agenda when the turbulent economic conditions created by the pandemic hit. Upskilling is increasingly being recognised as a way to keep workforces agile and to build resilience against uncertainty into any organisation.
Get your organisation involved. Most businesses today are willing to invest time and resources into employee learning, usually focused around skills shortages within the organisation. If there is particular training or development that you want access to then it’s worth making this known. Your learning journey is partly your responsibility but there is greater benefit for the wider business too in having a supportive learning infrastructure in place.
Broaden your perspective where training is concerned. Training is no longer simply sitting in a meeting room listening to someone talk. Especially under the socially distanced conditions of COVID many more opportunities have evolved. Flexible, digital training that uses a multitude of media to help you evolve and develop your skills provides many more options and a much more enjoyable experience.
Shout about your success. Learning can be exciting and can create positive feeling in a year that has often felt stagnant and hard. Celebrate your wins and share these with others so that they can get onto the learning journey too.
Staying active during the holidays
Christmas isn’t going to be the same as other years in 2020 but it’s still important that you find time to have a break from work and the pressure that brings. However, whether you’re with family or not, staying active at this time can keep you feeling connected to the world around and engaged with your future. This might come from continuing your learning when work finishes for the year, whether that is via recommended texts and online course materials or just sitting and reading books on topics that light up a flame of excitement in you.
Learning is a crucial tool for development, especially in times of crisis. As this difficult year comes to an end it represents a way to help set yourself up for better things next year.