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Carl Heath

Lifelong learning for tomorrow’s working life

Working life is changing and in future we will increasingly need to retrain and change profession during our careers. New perspectives are emerging on education and lifelong learning.

While there has always been a necessity to retrain and learn new things, this is becoming increasingly important in the wake of globalisation and digitalisation. It is likely that we will be required to attend multiple courses and reschool ourselves for new professions throughout our lives if our competences are to keep pace with technological and social developments.  

“We have left the industrial society behind us and entered the knowledge society. Information and knowledge are in a state of flux and we need to keep up, meaning that as a private citizen I need to learn new things more often and more rapidly than was once the case,” says Carl Heath, head of digitalisation and learning at RISE.

Instead of being satisfied with one long education during our youth, future learning will be a continuous, ongoing and lifelong process. As digitalisation wipes out certain jobs and creates others, it will quite simply not be enough to have a single education; we will have to learn all the time in order to adapt to the constant flow of new tasks. One of the major social challenges facing us at the moment is how this lifelong learning will work and who will bear responsibility.

“This is a thorny issue but I believe that responsibility must be shared between the private citizen, employers and society. We already bear a personal responsibility, for example to retrain or think along new career lines if we are made redundant. This will become even more crucial in future,” says Carl Heath.

Educational support

Today, job seekers have support from their unemployment insurance and other sources such as TRR assistance to redundant white-collar staff. This can assist in everything from reviewing your CV to providing financial support for starting your own business. This type of support will need to increase and a number of new ideas are currently developing in this area.  

“One idea is to introduce something called a skills check or skills insurance that would work in much the same way as unemployment insurance. This should be an insurance policy that, when you become unemployed, provides financial support for retraining,” explains Carl Heath.

Carl Heath also believes that higher education institutions will have to think differently and change their approach and range of courses in order to be able to contribute to lifelong learning.

“University study programmes are generally adapted to young people with no previous higher education. It must become easier to return to university even for older people who already have an education.”

Increased opportunities for distance learning

This may be a matter of making it easier to get student grants as an adult or increased opportunities for distance learning and reading individual courses. Many current university courses are locked into longer study programmes. These kinds of system changes will however take time. Other measures are required in the short term and here, RISE can play an important role. RISE has a long history of working with education and will now also be gathering activities for lifelong learning under the umbrella of Professional Education.

“We offer our clients training courses within all of our various areas of expertise. Our point of departure is our research, meaning that our courses are always up to date and closely related to research. We have courses in everything from programming in schools to artificial intelligence, or courses in agriculture and food handling, "says Carl Heath, who continues:

“The labour market of the future will also demand that we think differently in terms of employment. Different forms of work will become more common,” explains Carl Heath, who says that RISE’s next course will be adapted to just this need, namely a course that helps participants to start their own business.

"RISE can never be the answer to all of society’s challenges related to lifelong learning, but we are part of tomorrow’s solution," says Carl Heath.