The Importance of Volunteering and Learning in Career Development

Volunteering and learning. Learning and volunteering. Both are important in today’s business world. The importance of volunteering lies in its development of soft skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, flexibility and teamwork, and making ample room for developing and refining new skills. Career change is easier and networking gets a boost. While adult education is a lifelong journey that enables constant retraining and learning.

Career change, experience, and networking

Volunteering creates ample opportunities to develop and refine new skills. For someone who has already mastered their work role volunteering opens a natural path to learn and use different skills without any risk for current job or reputation.

When we examine career changing, volunteering offers a chance to explore different occupations and industry sectors. A place to collect information and learn what one is looking for when it comes to a career. Marketing, administration, programming – different paths lie open.

It also gives valuable work experience and looks great on a resume. While skills listed on a resume are important, a willingness to use those same skills for the right cause without being paid for it goes even longer.

There will also be opportunities to meet new people and expand the current network. Volunteering allows us to network outside the traditional formal networking events or LinkedIn in a friendly, low-pressure atmosphere. Conversations don't have to be forced, are engaging, comfortable and allow natural sharing of interests, without awkward pauses in-between. There is also a greater chance to create meaningful connections than by just standing near a table during an event.

Retraining and an active mind

Adult education is fundamental for retraining. The world has changed. After the advancements in technology and economic crisis, the future for many jobs is in question. But with adult education and training, many countries were successful in improving their unemployment rate. In a study about Australia's unemployment rate from 2014 to 2024, we can clearly see a trend of the unemployment rate falling down and it will continue for the next five years.

As technology changed so did the work descriptions, the way people seek new jobs and how employers recruit potential workers. For example, administration jobs experienced great changes, as many people lost their jobs and opportunities dried up, while others had to reeducate themselves and learn new skills, especially digital ones. Today the range of administration jobs is much larger, and it’s easier to find administration jobs in Sydney via various platforms that help people find new jobs and have information about innovations in various sectors.

Adult education creates a constant learning process that keeps the mind active. Just like muscles, a brain needs to work his memory, focus, and attention in order to improve them. Otherwise, they will fall into atrophy. The more the brain is put to the test, the better the memory and attention span will be and the sharper the reaction. The mind, just like the body, needs exercise.

Volunteering develops soft skills

When volunteering, there will be unavoidable work challenges, problems, and obstacles – all of which allow the development of decision-making and problem-solving skills. Facing problems and solving them will develop just the right skills needed to solve future ones.

Working with a diverse group of people creates space to become more adaptable and flexible. We can become more resourceful and resilient to change – increasingly important skills today. Adaptability is appraised as a competitive advantage and managers prefer persons who devise solutions independently.

Volunteering produces great team players. When working inside a group with volunteers of different ages and backgrounds, we can develop better teamwork capabilities. Organizing teamwork, communicating, listening, feeling empathy – everything becomes improved. These soft skills create a foundation for a successful and healthy work atmosphere and are ever more important for anyone wanting to be a leader. Collaboration and teamwork capabilities are invaluable for any professional aspiration.

A Lifelong journey

When we say adult education, we mean that it is lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is the voluntary, lifelong and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge. Learning that doesn't stop, but continues into adulthood and beyond in order to achieve personal goals. When people are young, most of them aren’t sure what they want and how to achieve it. Adult learning can compensate for that.

Today, people live much longer than before. Hence people are able to remain employed for much longer as retirement age increases. And most of their time is spent at work. If someone doesn't enjoy their job, boredom, anxiety, and stress set in. Adult education offers the means for people in such positions to access new career paths and train a different set of skills.

Adult learning enhances the economy, as more educated and productive people provide a stimulating effect. When a workforce is compromised out of innovative individuals that have advanced skills at their disposal the country itself is better equipped to deal with its problems and devise clever solutions. Those with better qualifications and skills are more likely to find advanced work roles. This benefits the economy as it reduces pressure on the benefits system. Lower unemployment rate leaves the country with resources to invest in other aspects of the economy.

With the changes in technology came the change in numerous professions – people took positions they were overqualified for, others lost their jobs, while some had to learn new skills. Not a single profession was left out. But adult education, retraining, and new websites are coming to aid and the stage is transforming into something better. All those who learn, retrain and gain new skills will have nothing to fear for.

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