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The Importance of Lifelong Learning
One of the best pieces of advice you will ever receive in your life is to always be a lifelong student.
I know it sounds like a drag – twelve years of school, followed by +/- 3-6 of further education studies seems like a soul-sucking, moneymaking concept without adding more ‘education’ to the mix.
But the truth is: most of what we learn in school and even university can only take us so far in life. No one teaches you how to do your taxes; how to navigate difficult relationships and conflict as adults; how to inspire greatness or bravery in others by being the best, most authentic version of yourself and showing kindness to all things, man and beast alike.
A Rewarding Experience
Yes, your family and teachers hopefully taught you the basics to get you through life and more importantly, how to be a decent human – but there is so much that can only be learnt through experience. Through trial and error. Through constantly pushing yourself and picking yourself back up when you encounter failure, rejection or utter devastation.
That is why becoming a lifelong student is one of the most fulfilling and richly rewarding things that you will ever do. Whether your learning is through free online courses; internationally-recognised colleges; or simply through encountering the people, places and things that make up our unique world – there is always something new we can learn.
In fact, if you aren’t learning something new every single day, that is a day wasted. (And no, I don’t mean big things – I mean small things that expand your knowledge and thought capacity.)
I am a big believer in the concept of constant self-growth and improvement. Each year, no matter how much I learn or grow as a person, I always feel like there is so much more to learn, to discover or to be.
Part of this is about self-growth and becoming a better rounded, more empathetic or mindful person. Because the truth is, as much as we may think there is no room for growth or education – as people, we have a lot to learn. Regardless of our background, experience, gender or age.
The Benefits of Constant Learning in the Workplace
In the workplace, constant learning benefits us in a variety of different ways. For example, you might unlock mentoring skills that aid you in teaching a new intern – or you might discover more about someone’s outlook on life, belief system or culture.
Above all, lifelong learning – especially in the workplace – helps you perform better as an employee. It creates a hunger for new skills and fosters a spirit of creativity, hard work and goalsetting.
In IT especially, with ever-changing technological advances, applications and programs, learning is essential. What you knew yesterday might be redundant or irrelevant today. As such, the only option is to always keep learning.
Sintrex: An IT Company that Fosters a Spirit of Learning and Teaching
Usually, upskilling or expanding your knowledge in the workplace falls on staff. You are expected to hone or sharpen your skills; study afterhours; and pay for different courses and training programmes from your own wages.
Very few companies provide any kind of financial or company assistance with workplace learning – and fewer still provide an internal company internship and workplace education both. In this regard, Sintrex is a glowing exception to the norm.
At Sintrex, we not only offer a formidable internship for young staff – with incredible success rates arising from said internship – but we also have access to amazing external online courses that Sintrex provides for its staff year in, year out.
Beyond that, in the past five years alone, our internal course range has also grown exponentially. What originally started out as interactive, pioneering internal training material based around our core product, Sintelligent – as well as our other modules and even our third-party products – has now blossomed into an online space where all staff can access courses on everything from Business Writing Made Easy to The Role of the Coach to Linux Basics.
Add to this, amazing training sessions provided by our own experts and staff – everyone from Ludwig to the Dev team and of course, Training and Content manager, Laura and our training facilitators, Vincent and Maxwell – and you have a space where learning is not only encouraged – but it is at the heart of everything we do.
Recently, Training and Content, in collaboration with some of our other departments, like HR and Marketing, also started offering virtual training sessions.
While these were initially based around our Business Writing Course and company branding – we are now branching out into teaching soft skills and other valuable, all-inclusive lessons.
Through these, staff can learn how to interact and communicate with each other and their managers not just as fellow staff members – but as people too.
Uplifting and Encouraging Learners
For me personally, one of the things that I am most proud of as a Sintrex employee is being part of a team who diligently and passionately creates comprehensive training material for our staff.
I am not directly involved with training beyond basic course creation and/or updates and I like it that way because documentation, proofreading and internal Wiki management is my buzz – but it is amazing to be around and witness first-hand the way our interns learn and are taught by our training facilitators.
It often makes me think of my own lecturers and teachers who made an impact on me growing up – who inspired a love of learning in me simply by being passionate, encouraging or patient. Whether I excelled in English and History – or struggled through Maths and InDesign – at each step of the way, I had teachers and lecturers who were there for me, offering so much more than just an educational foothold.
Because let’s face it: learning is not always glamourous. Some days, you don’t need the extra stress on your plate (meaning a week of intense exams is the last thing you need). Some days, you are tired of always being a student (will this ever end, I hear you ask?). And it is in those moments that truly good teachers, educators and training facilitators encourage or push you to see it through. Even when some small, niggling part of you says it is easier to drop out; flunk a test; or not show up for uni.
At Sintrex, training is something we do very well – and as much as we have incredible internal- and external-courses, training material and indeed, access to good, technologically advanced learning facilities (something that very few South Africans enjoy) – it is our people who foster the spirit of lifelong learning and education in others.
Be it the training facilitators, managers and directors, team leaders/mentors or your fellow colleagues who find the time and patience to sit and help you grasp something – or who generously and selflessly share their knowledge with you.
There is so much we can learn from each other. As fellow staff members – and as people and I, for one, am thankful that we have a company where lifelong learning is so passionately and freely encouraged.
By Tamlyn Ryan