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(Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or the position of BOMA Calgary.)

Back to schoolYou are probably thinking about your kids, if you have any going back to school this week. Summer’s over. I know when I was growing up the post-Labour Day ritual was something to look forward to. Renewing friendships put on hold during the summer break. The smell of the clean and freshly painted classrooms, the amazing shine on the gym floor, the new kids you were about to meet. All very exciting.
Once through the formal education years, you soon realize that some of what you learned in school didn’t really apply to what you actually do when you gain employment. You quickly understand that learning is a life-long journey.
Our world has changed. Business and its needs continue to evolve. But are we up to these changes. I believe we can argue that Canada is falling behind and globalization might leave us in the dust unless we adapt to these changes.
A 2005 report prepared by the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) points to 29% of adult workers in Canada participating in job-related education. This compares less favourably to the participation rates in the US and in many European countries where the same metric is in about 45%.
A report from the Association for Training and Development (ATD), prepared in 2011, suggests that in 2011 corporate spending on workplace learning amounted to $171.5 billion and this represents a 13% increase from 2009 – 2010. The CCL report claims that in the US, firms spent 50% more on workplace learning that in Canada.
CCL claims that 40% of adults in Canada are lacking in literacy and numeracy skills that they need in the workplace; these essential skills which workers in Canada have are at levels lower than what is needed.
Skill requirements are rising and constantly changing in the knowledge economy. This places more importance on life-long learning and especially in the context of a global economy.
Training works best when linked to a firm’s priorities and business plans and integrated with overall management practices and corporate culture.
BOMA promotes skills enhancement through programs such as its Building Operator Development Program.
Keeping up with new technologies and new practices is not easy. It’s time to go back to school.

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