Education, Education, Education: The mantra for continued professional advancement
Choosing how and when to work is a continued concern for us all. And while many employers choose to invest in younger workers over older colleagues, we need to look at opportunities within and outside the workplace to remain relevant. TDA talks to Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley AC, who under the auspices of the Australian Government conducted a review of Australian higher education. She shares her insights on the need for retraining for all of us to be a vital and well paid part of the Australian marketplace.
TDA: With another 15 years of productivity & significant experience should the government encourage baby boomers to drive the next wave of start ups?
Denise: What we actually need to do is look at a less traditional way of approaching it (education). This increasing proportion of the population need not necessarily be kept at the same work that they have done, but instead be encouraged and supported to do something different by retraining. Incentives for older workers to stay in the workforce and, indeed retrain, are necessary.
TDA: Do you think that there is room for universities to develop a dedicated degree for people who wish to learn after 50?
Denise: My own view would be that the better way to go would be for universities to avoid isolating this group in a particular course. It is important that they mix and interact with other age groups in classes. But, within a degree on entrepreneurship, a special unit on starting your own business after retirement would be very helpful.
TDA: How does digital media influence the learning and teaching experience?
Denise: I think that they are a great means of instant access to information but not necessarily great access to knowledge. Clearly there are real advantages in the huge array of learning tools and teaching resources now available, but there are disadvantages too. There is too is much mindless downloading and copying of information which does not mean anyone has learnt anything. There is an argument – which I am not sure that I agree with but is certainly one i think that is worth looking at – that the development of all of these ways of dealing with information has lead to people never really spending a significant amount of time thinking about something or working it through. Anywhere you go, people are in a sense not present in the present; they are looking at their mobile phone, they’re looking stuff up or talking with someone else. I think it is worth looking at as an area largely because all the significant discoveries happened when people had an idea, sat down and worked it through over time.
TDA would like to thank Professor Bradley for sharing her thoughts and experiences with us. We are hoping to see change in the area and are motivated by international examples such as subsidized university fees for seniors in selected states in America or the new initiative coming from the US of “reverse mentoring” where younger employees teach older managers about the constantly changing face of social media platforms and interaction opportunities.
Let us know what are your thoughts in the area – leave a comment below.