Learning Insights: Always Be Learning

Contributor: Jeremy Stowe, Director General, Government of Canada and Public Sector Skills, Canada School of Public Service
Twitter: @Jerstowe

Published: September 14, 2020


"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." — Albert Einstein

Whether you became a public servant recently or years ago, hopefully you joined this institution to make an impact on the lives of Canadians, to grow in your career and to be fulfilled by your work and accomplishments.

Joining such a big organization can sometimes leave you disoriented and unsure of what skill sets, knowledge and abilities may be required, or desired, to navigate through this complex system. This does not mean that the education and experiences that got you the job are insufficient. Rather, it means that you are not done learning–not ever. In other words, you should always be learning.

There is no bigger impact on your career than curiosity and continuous learning

The emerging traits that today's employers are looking for across many industries and professions are adaptability and curiosity. Employers want employees who are constantly seeking new knowledge, skills, and ways of working, and who are passionate about making their work better. Change is constant, and being prepared can help you maintain some control and be able to contribute. To start your plan for learning, think about:

What you should focus on

In this increasingly complex and ambiguous work environment, it can be difficult to decide where to concentrate your learning efforts. Embracing the importance of continuous learning can be daunting, without first breaking it down into categories to consider:

There is no bigger driver of an organization's impact than the collective learning culture

Continuous learning is increasingly important to the success of any organization because of constantly changing conditions and technology. Organizations that aim to develop, innovate and maintain their impact invest in the development of their workforce.

Team leaders are best positioned to evaluate the strengths and potential of team members. Investing in those who want to learn and grow will have a positive impact on the employee, the team, and the public service as a whole.

If you are a manager, please remember that there are very few greater influences that you can have on the performance of the public service than to invest in the professional development of your employees. This investment will provide benefits for years to come.

Always be learning and always be ready to learn

Whatever, wherever, and however you learn, being curious and ready to learn will help you prepare for opportunities and challenges throughout your career. Believing that you are in control of your own ability, and that you can learn and improve, is one of the greatest keys to success. Therefore, make it part of your approach to your work every day.  

Keep an eye out for emerging skill requirements and, whatever you're learning next, find opportunities to use your new skills. The more knowledge you acquire and the more skilled you are, the greater the impact you will have in your work. The greater the impact you have in your work, the more fulfilling your career will be.

Learning starts here at the School. There are plenty of opportunities for you to explore in the learning catalogue.


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