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Why pursue further study - 5 long-term benefits for your career and personal life

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

Wherever you are in life – be it fresh out of high school or an established expert in your field – pursuing further will always provide both personal and professional value.

In just the first half of 2018, the Australian government reported over 1,300,000 students enrolled in higher education. Our percentage of Bachelor degree graduates are also considered high by international standards. 

Not only is this great news for the Australian economy, equipping our population with the right skills to establish an engaged, innovative workforce; but further study has proven to have a significantly positive effect on one’s intellectual, emotional, and even physical health.

Below, we discuss the five long-term life benefits to be gained from pursuing further education that impact both your career and personal goals. 

Why pursue further study?

  1. Greater employment and financial opportunities.
  2. The opportunity to pursue a passion.
  3. Improved self-confidence and well-being.
  4. Developing self-discipline.
  5. Improvements in networking and communication.

1. Greater employment and financial opportunities.

african american woman getting welcomed by HR team

For starters, pursuing further study has been shown to drastically increase one’s employability. 

Successfully attaining a nationally-recognised qualification proves to employers that you’re both skills-ready and knowledgeable in your field. A degree in hand can also demonstrate your capability to take on higher-skilled occupations your industry, allowing you to command higher pay.

In fact, a 2016 Deloitte report shows that having more higher education graduates in the job market has a positive influence on wages, regardless of whether the individual receiving them is a higher education graduate themselves.

With the constantly changing landscape of the Australian workforce, developing your skills through further study can also help future-proof your career. Technology has consistently disrupted our industries, with numerous professions replaced with computerisation. 

Fortunately, Australia’s VET (Vocational Education and Training) sector provides courses in 9 out of 10 occupations predicted to experience the most growth in the coming years – allowing people to pursue training in these flourishing fields. 

This keeps your skillset current, employable, and appealing to companies; and prevents you from lagging behind on the constant influx of business developments.

2. The opportunity to pursue a passion.

young woman florist

While further study comes with its undoubted share of practical benefits, it also provides individuals with intellectual and emotional fulfillment

Choosing further education lets you explore a field you’re passionate about, arming you with the right training to pursue the occupation of your choice. 

Feeding yourself knowledge in an area you love contributes to greater happiness and engagement in what you do. As the great poet William Butler Yeats puts it, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” 

At the same time, further study allows you to discover interests you never knew you had – or that your supposed ‘passions’ lie in a much different area. Switching degrees to different fields is an all-too-common tendency among students, after realising that their initial pursuits weren’t what they truly wanted, after all. 

Former Upskilled student, Millie Magada, shares how she discovered her interest for Project Management after pursuing a diploma course.

As a social worker, she found that plenty of skills taught in project management were applicable to her field, allowing her to enhance her current skillset for potential career advancement opportunities. 

While she still works in the same industry, she admits her training was a smart move in developing her career path and reshaping her future professional goals. 

3. Improved self-confidence and well-being.

victory concept

On a similar note, further study has shown to improve one’s overall self-esteem and well-being.

Expanding your knowledge not only provides you with more confidence to take on greater career challenges, but arms you with a more assertive, self-assured mindset in social situations.

Of course, exposing yourself to new people and ideas also helps develop a more informed grasp of the world around you.

Australian reports have shown university graduates to have better workplace relationships, a greater sense of connection to their community, and a higher acceptance of people from all kinds of religious and cultural backgrounds. 

Having these healthy relationships have been linked to better overall happiness and life satisfaction. At the same time, society benefits from greater ‘cohesion’ and connectivity among individuals. 

For those struggling to find their career footing, further study has also contributed to increased engagement (or re-engagement) in one’s goals, viewing this option as a ‘second chance’ in the workforce. 

4. Developing self-discipline.

couple training in martial arts

Students will have their independence tested when pursuing higher education, a valuable trait to have in any aspect of life. 

Tertiary studies won’t spoon-feed you your education – you’ll have to organise your study schedules, develop your research skills, and cultivate a strong, academic discipline all on your own. 

This teaches individuals to not only foster independent work and thinking, but to grow a priceless sense of responsibility for their own achievements. Your academic success is carried by your choices alone, and is an investment for yourself; not an obligation for anyone else.

Having this mindset will not only find you success in your studies, but can help bolster you in your professional journey. 

5. Improvements in networking and communication.

group of people at networking event

By fostering a positive social mindset, undertaking further education can make strides in your networking and communication skills.

In Grattan Institute’s 2016 report of Australia’s higher education statistics, those who attended university were more sociable, friendly, and cooperative in comparison to those who did not. 

Studies of Australia’s VET sector have also zeroed in on its social benefits, particularly how students were able to better develop new networks and feel a part of a supportive environment. 

As further studies (particularly universities) often encourage the sharing of new ideas and open debate, students are likely to feel much more confident in discussing their individual beliefs and opinions.

McCrindle’s 2017 study of the Australian VET industry makes note of the now-accomplished chef, Nathan Taverner. Though starting out as a shy, unsure apprentice in the culinary arts, Taverner not only used his training as a tool for improving his skills, but for improving his self-confidence among others, too. 

He has now won 2 TAFE culinary cook-offs, has been hosted in first-class kitchens, and has had the opportunity to meet and learn from top chefs in the industry.

Higher education not only makes you feel more financially, professionally, and socially secure, but helps you grow your professional network and the communication skills to sustain them. 

Pursuing further studies can seem like a hefty investment of time, but its returns are invaluable. Not only will you acquire the industry skills to put you ahead of the curb, but you’ll also grow as a person – mentally, emotionally, and socially. So, go ahead and hit the books, both your personal and professional goals will surely benefit.

Want to pursue further studies?

Upskilled has online courses available that span across a wide range of industries. We also cater to your lifestyle commitments with flexible, online delivery that allows you to study whenever and wherever you see fit. Whether your passions lie in business, community services, or information technology; you’re sure to find a course that suits your individual needs.  
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