Adult educators take joy in helping mid-career workers upskill
Look beyond the spike in retrenchments since Covid-19 struck and the silver lining is more people are attending courses to upskill themselves.
Mr Isa Jamaluddin, an adjunct adult educator (AE) with the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL), told The New Paper: "Upskilling should happen all the time. We need to look beyond who and where we are today and stretch past our limits."
Established in 2008, IAL provides baseline training for AEs, who go on to teach learners and other AEs, and researches on adult learning.
Adult educators play an important role in a worker's learning journey, imparting practical and relevant skills to ensure the individual is adeptly equipped and ready to rise in their career.
In line with this, experienced AEs also support skills trainers who educate adult learners down the line.
Mr Isa, 59, teaches organisation development work and performance management. "I realised we are stifled and not continuously learning in the corporate world. I found meaning in helping others develop beyond where they are today," he said.
Ms Yip Ghenglai, 40, said it had been her dream to be an AE since her first job in the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, now known as Workforce Singapore.
She said: "I met purpose-driven trainers who developed the employability skills of (others) so that they can become self-reliant. These trainers inspired me to become an AE."
As AEs, they have to familiarise themselves with the lesson content and profiles of each learner.
"We have to be inclusive and adapt our teaching approach and methods to the learners' needs," Ms Yip added.
But the pandemic has changed the way AEs teach as lessons moved online.
Last year, there were 51 continuing professional development programmes conducted fully online for 3,240 learners.
AEs had a key role in ensuring learners are well adjusted in this new learning environment.
Ms Yip said: "The challenge was convincing learners to believe they could learn effectively online, especially for those new to using tech tools."
Added Mr Isa: "The modes of learning and presentation have changed but the deliverables remain the same. Learning the way we are today is the way forward."
Ms Diana Ho, an adult learner in her 50s, said she benefited from the programme.
"My AEs helped build my self-confidence... and encouraged me to be creative. Overall, it was still a positive experience (though lessons were online) since they were patient, open-minded and a trusted source of advice," she said.