Is Continuing Education Worthwhile?

Each year, about 22% of Canadian workers receive job-related training.

While there are many benefits of the training, both for the employer and for the employee, it remains difficult to quantify the real value of continuing education, since its effects are not all objectively measurable.

What we know

A group of Irish researchers examined the issue in 2006 and measured performance improvements of up to 828% (resulting from sales training provided to 1,500 call centre employees). Performance was negative (between -42% and -91%) in only three of the 12 courses reviewed.

Six years earlier, researchers at the Australian National Centre for Continuing Education came to similar conclusions when measuring performance improvements of from 30% to 1,277% for six courses.

They also observed that employees with access to continuing education at work had a higher self-esteem and felt a reduced stress in relation to their duties.

Aiming for well-being

This “happiness” factor related to work is nothing trivial! So much so that economist Daniel Fujiwara focused on the effects of continuing education on the well-being of individuals, in a study published in 2012. In particular, he concluded that continuing education has a positive effect on participants’ ability to keep their job, as well as on their social life. It is like how profitability is sometimes measured in human capital as well!

When burnout and other stress-related and performance-related issues are steadily increasing, relying on continuing education – and indirectly on employee mental health – is a winning decision. And it is important to admit that in the end, such a return… is priceless!

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