Sometimes you need to make a move to better your prospects – both for you and for your family. And learning new skills can be the key to career fulfilment. If you feel like you’ve hit the glass ceiling at work, perhaps you’ve taken time off to have children, or you’re looking to start your own business for a better work-life balance, then the way out can be to either upskill or completely retrain. This can give you a new lease of life and give you the skills you need to change path, or to impress a new employer. The great part is that learning new skills doesn’t have to mean quitting your current job and going back to study full time. There are a whole range of part-time courses, distance learning and evening classes which can get you to where you want to be while you work. You just have to find the right one and regain your study skills, and you’ll soon be flying.

Find Your Motivation

Much of adult learning is a self-directed activity, so you have to be motivated to do the work and to succeed. Sometimes this feels easy, and other times it can be more of a challenge, especially if you are working and parenting on top. The key is to find your motivation and focus on it. It could be escaping a job with no development prospects, building a better life for your family or gaining the skills to start your own business. Break things down into manageable tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed – focus on the next class, or the assignment that is due. When you feel like you can’t do it, remind yourself why you started this journey. And remember that there are different types of motivation – your personal reasons for doing something are your intrinsic motivation, while anything external, such as your employer sponsoring a qualification –  are extrinsic motivation factors.

Find The Right Course

There is almost endless choice out there when it comes to topics to study  – so choose carefully. Look at the career paths of people you admire in your industry on LinkedIn to work out what skills and qualifications you might be missing. Be prepared to consider different courses and institutions that you may first have thought –  you might be set on a distance learning course from one place, only to find the perfect mba for you at Norwich University. Keep an open mind, especially as you can study remotely at most places, so you don’t have to be limited by local geography.

Remember The Basics

If it’s been quite a while since you last learned anything formally, it’s worthwhile brushing up and learning study skills to help you with things such as taking notes, revising, dealing with assessments and how to structure a paper. A lot of institutions run these programmes for adult learners as a supportive add on to your course, or you can easily pick up tips online. Find out your personal learning style – for example, some people are visual learners, while others understand a topic best by explaining it to someone else.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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