It is unquestionable that learning is one of the most important aspects to a young person’s development in numerous ways. Learning new skills, knowledge, behaviours and values are all part of a young person’s ability to excel in today’s fast paced working environment. Learning also helps young people to develop their own personal motivation and improve their life experience by constantly expanding their own knowledge and skills.  

Firstly, academic learning is key to a young person’s intellectual development. The popular route to take in today’s society is further education through college or sixth form and then progressing on to university. Despite the rise in tuition fees, university seems a popular progression of a young person’s learning; study at degree level gives young people the chance to learn more about a specific area they are interested in. They consequently gain the necessary skills and knowledge to put their degree into practice within the real world. Further education is a massive benefit to young people who face the challenge of trying to achieve a well-paid and enjoyable job in today’s competitive society. Having a graduate degree helps to set you apart from those who have chosen not to obtain further education. A study in 2013 found that non-graduates aged 21-30 had higher unemployment and inactivity rates than those who were graduated within the same age group. (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lmac/graduates-in-the-labour-market/2013/rpt---graduates-in-the-uk-labour-market-2013.html).  A young person who is studying at degree level naturally obtains and improves many transferrable skills e.g. time management, organisation, communication and interpersonal skills. These skills become second nature to hard working undergraduates and are skills that would not necessarily be natural to non-graduates who have chosen not to continue learning. This shows that continuous academic learning is important for young people’s career development and job achievements.

As well as academic learning, it is important that young people make an effort to acknowledge and follow what is going in their local communities and in political matters. Reading newspapers and keeping up to date with local news and developments is beneficial for learning so you are aware of current issues in society. This will make you a better-rounded and versatile person so why not do it? Being knowledgeable about politics means you can have your say in local elections and changes to your community. This is done by continuously learning about political issues and therefore implementing your knowledge to aid any changes needed in your local area. A young person who has wider knowledge of circumstances happening in everyday life is instantly more appealing to employers – they show a wide range of knowledge and interest in important topical matters. This is instantly more attractive in comparison to someone who chooses to be ignorant to local news and is unaware of any significant news. Despite some young people thinking it is unnecessary for their personal needs to follow world news, it is needless to say that following daily news can be an extra asset to young people’s learning and consequently you become more employable and knowledgeable.

Despite employability levels being an integral aspect to young people’s learning and development, they are not the only aspect of continuous learning. Even after young people complete their degrees or achieve a job, it is important that they carry on learning new skills and values in their lives. Getting involved with activities such as volunteering, extra skills classes i.e. sewing or photography, sport, learning a language as well as travelling to see different cultures are some ideas that can help young people continuously learn and personally develop. Volunteering or charity work can enrich a young person’s life experiences and ultimately help them have a sense of achievement. Volunteering helps young people learn more about other people’s needs and makes them use their spare time efficiently. This can enhance their values and help them become more appreciative of the opportunities given to them; volunteering and charity work is an asset to someone’s CV as they show they are kind-hearted and willing to help others. Additionally, learning an extra skill such as photography is a good idea for someone who wants to continually learn and obtain more skills. Things like this can be done alongside someone’s weekly schedule so it is not too intense yet still enhances their abilities. A key part of a young person’s learning is to see and learn about new cultures through travelling. Travelling can give young people a chance to try new things, meet new people and generally add to their life experience and optimism. Going travelling can add a unique quality to a young person’s CV and shows employers that there is more to them than academic substance. Overall, travelling allows for lifetime memories and lessons that improve a young person’s knowledge and morality.

This article has exposed a variety of ways a young person can learn and shows that it is possible to be constantly learning new things throughout your life - both including educational aspects and life experiences. It is easy to continuously learn, whether it is pursuing further education, choosing to volunteer, going travelling or simply doing wider reading, there is always something young people can be doing to be learning something new. This active learning makes them more adaptable, versatile and experienced people. The key message to young people is to avoid laziness and start acting upon the many opportunities that are right in front of your doorstep.  

Summary:

  • Continue your academic learning – look at university courses to specialise in a certain area and develop transferrable skills
  • Alternatively, take up a new skill or hobby to increase your personal development
  • Do extra reading – politics, news stories, experiences are all part of increasing your continuous learning
  • Go travelling – explore different cultures and meet new people
  • Volunteer – improve your CV at the same time as helping others

 

Sophie Brennan, second year English undergraduate at Loughborough University

Twitter: @sophiebrennanx