What’s the single best investment we can make for ourselves?
In the knowledge economy, it’s education. Investing time and resources to learn will reap bigger rewards than any stock market or property would.
As US President Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Consider the data; products and services are rapidly being demonetised – in the 70s and 80s, we would have needed more than US$900,000 worth of products and services to conduct the functions of a single smartphone, worth a fraction of that price, can do today. Knowledge, on the other hand, is increasing in value. More than just giving us a sense of accomplishment, the race for talent is seeing companies offer ever bigger pay packages to those with future-ready skills, according to Linkedin’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report.
In a world at the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, our quest for knowledge shouldn’t stop at just one degree. For one, it’s no overstatement to say the robots are coming. Between 2000 and 2010, robots have replaced 85 percent of manufacturing jobs. And it’s not just repetitive and low-skilled jobs being gutted, algorithms and artificial intelligence are rapidly progressing to the point of replacing the dentists, insurance adjusters, lawyers and sports journalists among us. Consulting firm McKinsey estimates as many as 400-800 million people could find themselves displaced by automation. Nearly two out of three children in primary school today will end up in jobs that don’t yet exist.
What it takes to compete in this rapidly changing labour market is agility. The more knowledge we gain, the more agile workers we can potentially become. If one industry is disrupted, these lifelong learners can adapt and nimbly move to another. Those who don’t take time to upskill themselves would be at risk of remaining stuck at the bottom while the world advances ahead.
More than just a survival tactic, lifelong learning will allow graduates to thrive in the dynamic future ahead. According to a May 2017 Pew Research Center survey on the future of work, jobs training and skills, lifelong learning will be a necessary skill for success in the future employment environment. Close to nine in 10 workers surveyed by Pew believe so, as do employers.
Yet, despite current skills going obsolete by the minute, far too few people are upskilling or attaining qualifications to meet these changing business and industry needs. Among those with a graduate or professional degree, less than half reported holding a work credential. The figure falls even lower among those with a high school credential, according to US federal data.
But these micro-credentials are among the most powerful ways for employers to verify a candidate’s skill while hiring. While it’s shorter and more flexible than a traditional degree, they can verify, validate and attest specific skills and/or competencies gained. Increasing in popularity, they are now offered online, on‐campus, or through a hybrid of both. From stackable credentials to digital badges and licensure, they contribute greatly to students’ lifelong learning and professional development.
Want to be that well-rounded job candidate with highly marketable skills? Here are two leading universities that value continuing education and transferable expertise:
The University of California, Irvine – Division of Continuing Education (UCI DCE) is a leading name in the area of lifelong learning. Exceptionally committed to its students, the university is ranked 9th best public university in the U.S. according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 list of “Best Colleges”. UCI is also one of 62 universities in the U.S. and Canada selected for the prestigious Association of American Universities membership.
If it’s entrepreneurial spirit you’re looking for, this university, located in the bustling business district of Southern California and just minutes away from Orange County’s beautiful beaches, is the place to be.
This impressive track record would not have been possible without UCI’s elite education resources and potential career prospects. For continuing students, UCI DCE has a comprehensive suite of offerings. From superior English-language courses to engaging study abroad opportunities and university preparation programs, this is a strategic study destination for those planning to advance their professional and personal lives. The 10-Week Intensive ESL Program is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation, recognised by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions.
Meanwhile, the accelerated three-month certificate programmes are where students can specialise, improve presentation skills, join educational field trips, develop their network, and more. UCI DCE offers these in some of the most in-demand fields today, including Data Science & Predictive Analytics for Business Professionals; Digital Marketing & Communications and Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship. Students can even participate in 3-month professional internship to gain practical experience with real-life application of the skills learned in the certificate program.
As well as being life-enriching and career-boosting, these certificates offer comprehensive preparation for successful undergraduate and graduate studies.
Want to lead your stagnating career towards a more dynamic future? This university, located in Philadelphia, has just the right department for you.
As a US News & World Report (2019) Top 100 Best Value School, Temple University’s host of courses and programmes are affordable options. The non-credit programmes here are conveniently scheduled, offered in person and online. Taught by engaging instructors with real-world experience, students receive quality teaching in categories such as Professional Development and Licensure, Personal Enrichment and Community Education, Youth Programmes and Intensive English Language programmes.
Students can apply for Professional Development and Licensure programmes in real estate, medicine, dentistry, podiatry, law and physical therapy. There is also a wide variety of courses, certificate programmes and online learning options that can help you prepare for a different job or get ahead in your current career.
For Personal Enrichment and Community Education, try out programmes in music, art or offerings at the Fort Washington, Ambler and Center City campuses, as well as through extensive programmes offered by the Pan-African Studies Community Education Program (PASCEP).
With a department dedicated to continuing education, Temple’s continuing studies advisors are always happy to guide you through the process of enrolling in Temple credit courses on a non-degree basis. Regardless of your age or status, students here have the chance to work towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, or professional development and personal enrichment courses.
Alongside extension education programmes, Temple also provides accelerated programmes to strengthen your professional path and reinforce your career ambitions. These allow academically qualified students to earn a bachelor’s and an advanced degree and graduate sooner than they would have when completing two distinct programmes.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International