Education is not cheap – it is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. So, how can you make sure that your studies remain relevant in your future?
Many people choose to study towards a degree or certificate that will qualify them to work in a job that they are interested in. If they choose their course wisely, there will be industry demand for their qualification and opportunities for career advancement.
But what if industry requirements change? There may be too many graduates in your chosen field and not enough jobs. Your qualification may become out-of date due to changes in technology. Work opportunities may dry up as companies move offshore or Government reduces funding to industry sectors.
Think about your life right now. You are probably free to travel and plan to work full-time. Will your career choice still be compatible if you start a family? Our work needs will also change as we grow older or experience challenges such as illness or disability.
The answer is to make your studies more versatile so that you can easily move into different job roles during your career. One way around this in the past was to study two degrees such as Arts and Law or Science and Business Administration. People would study two undergraduate degrees or build on their first degree with a Master degree in another discipline. This will be too expensive for many students if the Government introduces proposed changes to student loans and deregulation of university fees.
This is why short courses are a great option. They are more affordable, take less time to study and you may be lucky enough to have some of your previous studies credited towards the qualifications. As industry bodies often drive the content of accredited courses, you can be confident that your knowledge and skills will be in demand. These days a wide range of certificate, diploma and short courses are available and you can even study online. For example, there are courses on corporate management, training and development, interior design, project management and research, to name just a few. Topping up your basic qualification with additional studies will help you to advance in your career and stay up-to-date. This can also open up opportunities for part-time or home-based work when you are raising your family or at other times in your life.
In my own career, I started out as a geologist and ended up as an executive director and general manager of an Australian company. I clearly benefited from extra studies in computer programming and business management. I worked with a colleague who had studied engineering and commerce and became our chief financial officer. Another colleague with qualifications in commerce and hospitality became our human resources manager and then company secretary. These examples show that your studies can lead to roles that you may never have imagined.
Short courses are becoming even more important due to the rise of the global economy and the speed of change in technology. Clever professionals will make sure their knowledge and skills are not only up-to-date but are always at the cutting edge of industry requirements. Short courses are the best way to future-proof your studies.