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Modern careers require lifelong learning


By: David Jenkins and Jonathan Jones

Change is now a constant factor in almost every professional career.

Be it organisational or corporate change through a merger or acquisition or the introduction of new processes and technology, professional success is increasingly dependent on the ability to adapt to change and learn new ways of doing things.

Given the pace of change, lifelong learning is more important than ever before. Modern professionals do not simply acquire a tertiary degree and then start a working career where everything they subsequently learn is on the job.

Today, there is no one career trajectory. Staying relevant requires ongoing study and learning which can come in many forms, from post graduate study and short training modules through to professionally accredited courses such as those offered by IPWEA.

Our sector of asset management has been a case in point on how the landscape is changing, and how roles and the skills which are required have evolved.

While a majority of our membership are civil engineers, asset management has evolved as a discipline and now combines engineering with finance skills, project management and demographics to name only a few.

Issues of resilience and sustainability are placing fresh demands on asset managers, while technology such as digital twinning is transforming strategic planning and modelling.

IPWEA has responded to this with its Asset Management Pathway which has three levels of learning: foundations, build and recognise. Each of these feature courses which are developing into the industry standard for professions in fleet and asset management and in infrastructure.

Lifelong learning is at the core of the pathway. Professionals can start their training at any time and at any level. They choose the relevant courses and link them together to build the capabilities they need, while also being recognised under the World Partners in Asset Management Global Certification Scheme.

For those developing strategic leadership skills, IPWEA has recently partnered with the Australian Graduate School of Management, ranked by the Financial Times as the top ranked MBA program in Australia.

IPWEA has gained recognition for one of our asset management courses with the AGSM in a micro-credential pathway that combines leadership and management and has the potential to lead to avenues for further tertiary studies.

A common theme in all of these programs is that life-long learning must be flexible and tailored for the needs of individuals or particular organisations.

Structured and targeted micro courses enable people to develop the particular skills they need to enhance their careers, while the accreditation piece provides incentive and recognition.

Professionals today are looking at careers which could span four decades. Embracing the idea of life-long learning will help keep them relevant and give them the skills to respond to change and lead their organisations as they transform.

Choosing an undergraduate degree is now only a first step. Careers are now long journeys with multiple options and pathways, all of which require knowledge and skills which need constant updating and fine tuning along the way.

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