Lifelong learning – the answer to a changing workforce

There’s a new trend being recognised around the world; a shift in thinking when it comes to education and learning.

Personal experiences being shared range from university graduates feeling they have no practical skills, to MBA graduates worried they have invested too much time and money, to unskilled workers fearing they will lose their jobs as technology surpasses them.

Historically in the developed world, we have tended to front-load our formal education, acquiring as much as possible early in life. And while there is still a clear correlation between education and wages, an Oxford University study suggests the work force is shifting as technology advances.  Currently 47% of existing jobs in America are at risk of being replaced by automation.

The effects of automation mean that occupations that use computers have been growing exponentially faster since the 1980s than those that don’t. Technology doesn’t necessarily destroy jobs, but it does force people to change up their skills. As established skills, processes and technologies become obsolete, employees and businesses must adapt and learn to stay competitive or even to survive.

Furthermore, career spans are lengthening. The university degree achieved prior to starting a working career no longer satisfies the need for continuous acquisition of skills on the job. Vocational training is needed to give job-specific skills, but these too need to be regularly updated over a long career.

“Vocational training has a role, but training someone early to do one thing all their lives is not the answer to lifelong learning,” says Andreas Schleicher, head of the education directorate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Although degrees are still attractive to employers, they are not the ‘be all and end all’. Employers are looking for talent with job-specific skills that contribute to the bottom line. And likewise, people are looking for workplaces that invest in their upskilling so they can remain at the top of their game.

A recent Pew Research Centre survey in America reported that 54% of all working Americans think it will be essential to develop new skills throughout their working lives. A 2016 Manpower survey found that 93% of millennials were willing to spend their own money on further training.

Training and career-focused education throughout people’s working lives is now accepted as the answer to remaining competitive and successful, both for businesses and employees. Online and modular learning is being globally embraced to make on-going learning as accessible and non-disruptive as possible.

eCampus NZ lead the way in flexible, online learning. Our impressive range of courses are industry recognised and are specifically tailored to help you further your career. We offer a significant number of business related courses that will ensure your skills are as up to date as possible. See for yourself at

The eCampus NZ learning platform is being closed on 29 February 2024, as part of the completion of the amalgamation into Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga. Therefore, access to courseware for ākonga (learners) will be available for three months post course completion or 29 February 2024, whichever happens first. If you have any questions, please contact eCampus NZ : [email protected] or call 0800 328 269.