Today’s job markets are more competitive than ever before. The rate of innovation almost guarantees that experience alone won’t be enough to keep even veteran professionals’ CVs attractive in the current job landscape.
Traditionally, MBAs and other postgraduate degrees were the best options for professionals who wanted to give their CVs a boost.
In Singapore, however, getting a SkillsFuture certificate is now widely seen as a great alternative.
The SkillsFuture Series is an initiative by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), a government body tasked with improving the country’s human development index through holistic lifelong education.
Short courses in the SkillFuture are mostly part-time and are designed to help busy professionals update their skills.
Here are some of the benefits of taking short courses such as those on the SkillsFuture Series:
1. Helps Keep Skillsets Relevant
In many fields, the pace of innovation is so rapid that degrees can be outdated the moment they are earned.
This is an especially serious problem for older professionals, as there is a tendency for their skill sets to become highly specific to their experiences.
It is not uncommon for them to lose proficiency in important foundational skills and to be unable to acquire new ones relevant to their field.
Fortunately, these are recognized issues in Singapore. Initiatives like SkillsFuture SG are specifically designed to help older professionals keep their skills up-to-date, allowing them to retain or even increase their value in the labor market.
2. Creates New Career Opportunities
Certificate courses can also help professionals boost their careers or find one outside of their current track.
Whether one chooses a course that is related to their current career or one that is completely divergent, chances are that they can lead to a world of options for furthering one’s prospects.
There are long-term career benefits as well. Taking part-time courses and other adult education opportunities can help improve one’s income over time.
Higher incomes can also open up further opportunities, including the capacity to start a business.
3. Provides a Convenient Way to Diversify Skills
Short courses aren’t just for refreshing skills one already has. Taking a course that’s out of one’s comfort zone can be a way to diversify your skillset and take your career in new directions.
Skills diversification is also an excellent way to prevent losses of value in one’s CV due to market forces.
Furthermore, it could also be a path to a better-rounded and engaging career.
For instance, professionals who are currently on a technical career track and want to take on more leadership roles can take short courses in business and management.
Similarly, they could also take on media and design courses should they need to transition to customer-facing roles.
4. Improves Mental Health
It’s becoming increasingly clear that continuing one’s education later in life can help improve mental health. A 2018 study found that continuing formal education in adulthood was able to improve several markers of mental health.
Part of this is with the way education engages the brain, allowing it to maintain more robust neural connections.
Certificate courses are also typically voluntary, which means that they are also of direct interest to learners, something that may engage the brain further.
The socialization and sense of purpose that comes with continuing education later in life also help improve symptoms of depression, loneliness, and anxiety.
Another potential cause of these mental health improvements is the typically higher incomes enjoyed by those who continue their education.
Higher incomes not only afford better access to mental health services but also reduce the typical financial anxieties experienced by many older individuals.
5. Gives a Better Sense of Purpose
As mentioned earlier, taking certificate courses and other adult education opportunities later in life can help improve one’s sense of purpose, something that can contribute to better mental health.
While this is an important benefit, a sense of purpose can do so much more for older professionals.
A better sense of purpose can help with motivation and engagement, things that are usually seen as positives in the workplace.
These can also help with recontextualizing the direction of projects that a professional is taking on, giving them new life and a more relevant mission.
6. Expands Social Circles
One of the most important benefits of taking part-time courses is that it allows older professionals to meet new people.
This is especially important given that most people’s social circles start shrinking in their mid-20s.
Maintaining a healthy number of new contacts can give several personal and professional benefits, including better mental health and more potential career opportunities.
Perhaps most importantly, it allows professionals a way to connect with other people who share similar interests and careers later in life.
Singaporean professionals are fortunate to have several adult education options available, including MBA courses at some of the best universities in the world.
However, getting a SkillsFuture certificate is now seen as one of the more desirable options, given the convenience and relevance of the offered modules.