Learning at Work Week: The importance of continuous education
How naïve I was at 21… fresh out of university, a degree in the bag, looking forward to closing the book on education and carving out a path in the ‘real world’. I genuinely believed that I’d done all of my learning, and it was time for some doing.
Of course, I realised that I’d have to learn how to do a job — whatever that job ended up being. But courses? Tests? Exams? Things of the past, surely.
And it took me years to realise that, not only do we never really stop learning, but we should actively pursue opportunities to learn. What’s the old saying? Standing still is going backwards.
If I wanted to progress in any kind of career, I’d have to be constantly learning, constantly upskilling, constantly striving to be better at my job for my own sake and the people around me. And the philosophy doesn’t only apply to working life. Working on myself will make me a better person in general.
Anyway, the point of this pre(r)amble is to show the importance of Learning at Work Week — a nationwide initiative to celebrate the idea of continuous learning and to encourage people, regardless of age, to keep on developing and deepening their skills.
Many people get to a stage in their life or career when they believe they know everything they need to know and they’re happy with the skills they have, thank you very much. But learning is a process of active engagement with experience. It is what we do when we want to make sense of the world. And it’s something we encourage here at Point 6.
That’s why we sat down with Andy O’Brien, our retoucher/image technician extraordinaire, to get his views on why continuous learning is important, and how it’s having a positive impact on his career:
Hi Andy. You did a course recently, right? Could you tell us a bit about it?
It was a two-day remote learning course on 3D CAD product design software. We learned how to build 3D objects from scratch, place them into environments and then output them as still and animated images. We looked at creating materials and colour, adding graphics and creating backgrounds.
What specific tips did you pick up and how will they impact your work going forward?
I learnt a lot of about physical product design and manufacture — something I wasn’t familiar with and has given me a lot of useful background knowledge. I also learnt how to produce accurate 3D models of products and packaging which can be shared with our clients, either as work-in-progress proofs or as finished images. It’s given me a much greater understanding of how our clients’ products are created and how we could show them off.
Why do you think it’s important to maintain an appetite for learning throughout your life/career?
It’s absolutely vital! This type of work is very skills based and focused on using up-to-date software to create the best work for our clients. There is a need to keep up to speed on the latest developments and tools that are available, which means being willing to learn! With this particular software we felt it was best to take a training course and learn from an expert. On a broader level, always looking for ways to improve and learn keeps me interested and engaged in my work, which is beneficial for not only myself, but for my employers and our clients.
With continuous learning/development in mind, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
Firstly, YouTube is your friend. It’s a great place to pick up tips and tricks on all the current software, and it’s constantly being updated. Secondly, don’t be afraid of learning new software or taking a training course, it’s a great way to broaden your skillset and keep up to date with this fast-moving industry.
Do you have any further plans to upskill/are you attending any other courses in the future?
Yes, my next mission is to learn how to cook a decent lasagne! I’m also watching tutorials on other aspects of 3D design, using software aimed at producing photorealistic images for our clients, and for fun!
Thank you for reading — we hope you enjoyed. For more information on Learning at Work Week, check out their website.