Free Training – What’s out there and is it worth it?

As the COVID 19 pandemic took effect in Europe in April, I wrote a short LinkedIn article on access to free educational resources and online training for people who wanted to use the downtime to refresh their skills.

As the wave of job losses becomes apparent this takes on a new life in what will be the most competitive jobs market since post the 2008/09 financial crash.

As the post title reads, it’s not just about finding a quality course to delve into, it’s about finding one that adds value to your life.

The short answer is ‘it depends’.

You really need to answer 3 fundamental questions.

  1. Do I have the time?
  2. Do I have the discipline?
  3. Can I afford not to?

With a NO answer to any one of those then it will be a struggle.

  • You need to have the time – I struggle with this in my practice as it’s a busy time for business consultants across the sector. Blocking out a time slot is easy when it’s a classroom based course, but when its on demand, there’s always a more pressing email, phone call, cup of tea to make, odd job around the house to do or even post to write for your website!!
  • Discipline, and with it the physical and mental space to learn, is critical to success. Online learning is a skill that needs to be learned, as is getting yourself into a frame of mind to learn.
  • Finally the ‘need to succeed’ and the pressure of falling behind are equally important. Mid positioned professionals are the most likely to fall by the wayside during the next jobs cull.

When I was 29/30, I was out of work and needed a new job to pay the bills. Dusting off my CV I hadn’t done any educational development since University. So, I went to a local college and booked onto a course in occupational Health and Safety to ‘pad out’ my CV. The course was interesting, I enjoyed it, and thought it would look good in basically similar roles that I had done before.

This came up when interviewing for job in a sales role, very different from my purely technical background. I was up against a seasoned professional with decades of experience in the industry. Although the course had nothing to do with that particular role, the MD said when offering me the job, ‘you have the ability to learn’.

That became, and remains, the most important skill in my toolbox.

Stay curious.