We will never stop learning. Our minds are incredible things that require continual stimulation.

There will always be something new to learn and discover. As the world evolves, our minds should evolve alongside. Understanding how quickly things can change prepares us for the consistent updates and latest trends.

The best performers understand that in order to succeed, it’s important to read that second book or take that extra course. Keeping our minds active allows us to stay on track with the ever changing world we live in.

With the rise in new technology every day is a school day- which is something I’m continuously reminded of when I find my 7 and 12 year-old kids confidently using technology I didn’t even know existed (and which probably didn’t a few months ago).

The advances in technology mean that each and every one of us is required to adapt. Learning the tools and processes gives us the opportunity to stay ahead, whilst choosing something we’re passionate about allows us to stay focused.
One fantastic way to further your learning and continue to grow in the digital age is through an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships can provide a whole new perspective on the workplace and 2019 is already looking to be an exciting year. With the government planning to create three million new apprenticeships by 2020, almost anyone could benefit from a hands on learning experience.

This tried and tested approach to work-based learning provides a positive alternative to ‘traditional’ classroom based education and training, and with a growing number of companies supporting apprenticeships it’s difficult to argue against them.

The government’s recent ‘Fire It Up’ campaign has been created to showcase the benefits of apprenticeships. It aims to help everyone to understand the various routes available and how apprenticeship opportunities are growing within hundreds of industries. (In my opinion the campaign fails miserably to meet these goals, but that’s an article for another day).

According to the government, 90% of apprentices who complete their course stay in employment or continue with further learning, with a whopping 88% remaining loyal to the employer who provided their initial apprenticeship opportunity for the long-term.

However, despite the positive views, one very common misconception is that apprenticeships are predominantly aimed towards adolescents graduating school, looking for their first step on the career ladder. This is not the case.

It’s important to understand that anyone, no matter how far they are over the age of 16, can take advantage of apprenticeship training to advance their skills. Apprenticeships are no longer just the preserve of new hires, they’re open to existing employees to support their internal advancement with the same employer, or those who simply have a skill-gap in their current role.

The new breed of apprenticeships also help to develop new skills and abilities over a wide range of levels, with programmes ranging from level-2 GCSE equivalents, right through to level-6 degrees, and beyond.

Encouraging the ‘older’ generation (which if you ask my kids, is anyone over the age of 25) to train for a career advancement or second career is a great opportunity to strengthen the economy and allow individuals who may be struggling to catch a break, or perhaps pursue one of their lifelong passions.

If you look at it from the organisation’s point of view, apprenticeships can also act as a great funnel for recruitment, development AND retention. By encouraging a range of ages and skill levels to apply for apprenticeships, employers can reach external candidates who may have previously overlooked the opportunity by only considering a narrower job search, as well as internal candidates who might otherwise look for development opportunities or career advancement elsewhere.

It’s often the case that people are unsuccessful in a job role due to a disconnection between what their employer wants and what the individual can deliver. These skill gaps (or perceived gaps) not only put people off applying for a new role or an internal promotion, but they can also leave people languishing and demotivated in their existing job, afraid to admit there are aspects of their role they struggle with for fear that could put them at risk of disciplinary action or even redundancy.

Apprenticeship training programmes (which are typically delivered with the employer partnering with an external specialist training provider) can help to bridge these gaps in a way that internal training programmes often struggle to do.

Apprenticeship programmes also instil confidence in the wider workforce that it’s a good thing to continually learn and grow within a role, as doing so helps both the individual and the organisation they’re part of to thrive.

Whether this personal and professional development is facilitated by a structured apprenticeship training programme, or simply comes from reading a ‘how to’ book in the comfort of your own home, there are so many ways to learn.

Here are 3 reasons why you should never stop learning:

You’ll be irreplaceable:
It’s a well-known fact that the more experience you have, the greater the advantage you gain as you can offer make better decisions, more confidently and quickly. (Note that ‘more years in a role’ does not necessarily result in ‘more experience’. For example, have someone got six years’ experience, or just one year of experience six times over?) If you’re limited to selling a particular product in a certain way, you’ll become very limited in what you can contribute, especially if you continue to stand still as the world changes around you. However, if you’ve dedicated your time to developing your knowledge base and to learning new skills, you’ll become a member of the team they’ll never want to be without!

You’ll stay on your toes:
Similar to your bodies, your brain requires exercising to ensure it remains fit and healthy. Taking the opportunity to learn new things allows your memory to remain sharp and keep you focused. It is also suggested that when you begin to learn new things, you will gradually become more adaptable to change. As new concepts develop, you’ll be there ready, willing and able to keep up by continuing to learn quickly and efficiently.

You’ll be happier:
It’s true that learning can be a long, daunting experience. At times it can be tough and it’s normal to question if you’ve made the right decision. But, there is nothing greater than setting yourself an ambitious goal and then reaching that accomplishment. Personal development is one of life’s greatest achievements, if you’re proud of your personal growth, you’ll be happier person as a result.


Final Thoughts

My final note is one for the employers reading this, who sometimes ask ‘what if we train them and they leave?’ The answer to that is ‘what if you don’t train them and they stay?’


Ask the author!

FieldStar Founder Steve Radford is a work-based learning professional specialising in on-the-spot and short-chain sales, and worked closely with the employer trailblazer group to develop the new level-4 Sales Executive Apprenticeship.

Steve sits on the Education Board of the APS (the Association of Professional Sales), the nominated end-point assessment organisation for the Sales Executive Apprenticeship.

Steve is also Head of Sales Apprenticeships at The JGA Group, the apprenticeship management and delivery specialists that FieldStar have partnered with to launch our Sales Executive Apprenticeship Programme.

Steve has been described as ‘the most helpful person in field sales’, so for more information please feel free to get in touch with Steve, as he’s usually very happy to help.