Taking the chance to sharpen those skills

Due to the current turn in economic events, many people have found themselves toying with the idea of returning to education. Whether simply to do a top-up course in their present field of expertise, or to start a fresh on a completely new career path, it is important to note that there are options out there to suit every situation.

What appears to be the main question on everybody’s lips is – how can I afford to go back to education especially with responsibilities of my family, mortgage and other commitments?

The simple answer is it is no longer necessary to attend college on a full-time basis. With the considerable growth in the technology sector over the past number of years, innovative methods of up-skilling ourselves are now readily available for all, at just the click of a mouse.

The world of on-line learning has not just opened the door for individuals to further their education without leaving their current employment, it has also provided the means for individuals on a limited budget to access the same opportunities as everyone else.

I have found several sites to be particularly informative and inclusive of a varied range of courses. The site www.Alison.com contains an extensive database of course topics, www.ecollege.ie is the FAS e-college, and www.lynda.com transmits an immense catalogue of training and demonstration videos for practical learning.

There is also www.khanacademy.org, who boast that you can ‘learn almost anything for free’. They have over 3,200 videos and, at last count, they had delivered 162,800,596 lessons.

Another resource to consider is www.teamtreehouse.com. If you already are quite IT-proficient, but want to move to the next level – for example, design and develop for the web. They have over 750 training webs.

There are many others out there and a Google search will help you find something that might suit you.

As a general rule, it can be good to bite off a shorter course if you haven’t been involved in training or education for some time. That way you can find it you have the patience for a longer slog, and also gradually re-immerse yourself in the world of training or education.

Your CV will benefit from your doing courses. It shows that you are committed to up skilling yourself on a constant basis, and that you understand the importance of testing yourself and keeping yourself sharp. Employers are always impressed by that kind of initiative and ongoing learning.

Don’t under-estimate the value of YouTube. If you want to learn something, just ask the question in the search box. The world of ‘how to’ videos is exploding, and, again, it can be an interesting place to start if you’re looking at returning to training.

Forgive us a moment of gender separation here, but this may be an opportune time to mention Men’s Sheds. Everything we have heard about Men’s Sheds impresses us – either what we have read in the media, or learned from participants. We like the whole concept of people helping each other. Through helping others, we often rediscover our own power. You can learn more about Men’s Sheds in your area on www.menssheds.ie

Sli Nua Careers offer CV preparation, interview training and mock interview services at their offices in Galway, Dublin and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. You can also obtain their free eBook providing Job Searching Tips by emailing getthatjob@slinuacarers.com with Job Searching eBook in the subject line. More: www.slinuacareers.com