Another dot in the blogosphere?

Not either/or but all

Posted on: July 6, 2014

I have been reading the opinion articles in local rags and social media about whether kids with promising talent should work as soon as possible or stay in school.

Conventional wisdom, particularly in a place like Singapore, favours schooling because paper qualifications seem to be what employers recruit and reward. But that tide is changing, particularly in fields that do not require specific professional qualifications, where drive, experience, and attitude are more important.

I do not see why we have to think along the traditional lines of either starting/continuing work or furthering one’s schooling/education. Why not both?

After some basic schooling, much of what needs to be learnt is done on the job (OTJ). Some OTJ training and development is provided at the workplace, sometimes a vendor provides it. Sometimes the worker signs up for Coursera, sometimes s/he takes a night class.

Then there are those who take courses online, face-to-face, or a combination, but also work part-time, are apprentices, or have internships in their fields of interest.

We have workers who realize that they must be learners and we have learners who are working on the side.

These days you can have your cake and eat it too. You can start with a culinary diploma, set up a cake shop, and learn more trade skills from pastry chefs on YouTube. You can also start with one job, wish to dabble in some frosting, switch careers, and get the necessary qualifications one way or other.

There are many permutations and combinations for how a person becomes a pastry chef. Or anything else for that matter. Open your eyes and ears and ask around. The exceptions are becoming the rule. There is no one size or method that fits all.

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