Whether you’re anxious to advance at work or keen to change your career path all together, there are plenty of reasons you might find yourself in need of upskilling in your adult years.
The thing is, with a family to provide for and an already hectic schedule, it can seem like a daunting task. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you embark on your upskilling journey.
How to advance
If you are planning on staying in your current job, but simply want to expand your skillset or try something new, simply approach your higher-up. Let them know that you are eager to take on new responsibilities, join a new project or shadow someone in a role that you’re interested in.
It’s also a good idea to stay plugged into your industry by attending conferences, listening to lectures or reading journals or books. This will introduce you to new ways of thinking and help you explore opportunities you may not have otherwise considered, or even thought possible. Plus, it’s a great way to stay passionate about your chosen career – or discover more about a career you might want to pursue!
For those who require further accreditation to advance in their current career or are looking to jump industries, it may be essential to enrol in a new course – be it a certificate, a diploma or even a degree. Before you enrol, though, there are some things you may want to consider…
What to keep in mind
Chances are, it’s been a while since you last studied. To say you’ll be a bit rusty is an understatement. Don’t be hard on yourself – university, TAFE and college are drastically different to the workplace, so it will take some getting used to. Here are a few ways you can prepare yourself:
- Be realistic and draft out what your weekly schedule might look like as a mature-age student, factoring in everything you currently do and accounting for the recommended study time advised by your chosen tertiary institution
- Talk to your employer about whether they offer opportunities for further study – this could mean dedicating some of your weekly work hours to your study, and even help you save money on the enrolment costs
- Seek support, both from the institution and your family and friends. Enrolling in a new course means additional stress, so take the time to check in with your support network and make sure you have the help you need to get through it
- Work within your means – there’s no way you’ll be able to study and work full-time while also raising your family, so be okay with the fact that your course will take a little longer than if you did it full-time. Better late than never is certainly true here!
- What are your priorities? Sometimes, you’ll have to sacrifice your weekend plans to complete an assignment, while other times your coursework will have to fall to the wayside so that you can care for your kids – it’s all about balance. Above all, remember that it’s most important to look out for yourself; nothing will go your way if you’re burnt out, and assignment extensions are there for a reason.
Where to further your learning
You don’t need to physically be on campus to pursue tertiary education – there are a number of in-person and online courses that you can undertake in order to upskill! Here are three that could work for you…
- Open Universities Australia helps you find the right course to study online by comparing courses from all over the country.
- Upskill Online offers interactive short courses from as little as $25 per week.
- University of New England’s bespoke courses allow you to only study the parts of a degree that you need.