Learning should be a lifelong interest if you want to maximize your potential and keep your mind alert. Skills are particularly important because apart from enlarging your horizon, they can also project your career to the next level.
Not to mention things can change suddenly, and events out of your control can overturn your financial status. At that point, gaining new free skills can be essential for any employee within the Canadian workforce.
A unique set of skills can truly make a difference and help you stand out from your competitors. You may have been particularly concerned about this aspect when you were trying to find your first job, but the fact is it can be essential at several points during your professional experience.
It's not always about work-related skills; you can just as easily spend some time learning something that relaxes you so that you can turn it into a hobby you can be passionate about. But most of the time, skills that can give you an advantage at your workplace are considered more valuable. You can continue to learn even when you are unemployed.
You may think that valuable skills require a degree and much time. But there are many practical things you can learn while staying at home and with no budget available.
We realize that many Canadians might be having a hard time right now. That's why the people at iCASH, a Canadian payday lender, put together this article that demonstrates the top 5 ways that Canadians can learn new skills for free.
1. Take online courses for Canadians
Online courses are a great way of learning a new skill, and you will even get a degree to add to your résumé. Indeed, not everything can be learned online, but you still have many valid options available. And the best part is that many of them are free.
While we're on the subject of online learning, it's a good idea to start your search for free courses with the major Universities. Many of them offer extremely useful free classes that can enrich your skills collection. The University of Toronto and Coursera, for instance, currently offer many free courses using. You can learn how to program, try the basics of iOS app development, behavioral economics, and many others.
And if the options they offer don't fit your particular situation, many other platforms provide a wide array of skill-learning experiences.
Indeed, many of the online courses you may be interested in aren't free. Even so, if taking them would help you take a step forward in your career, or it can help you find a job easier, it's an investment worth making. In case you don't have enough money available to cover the costs of these online courses, you can find an easy way to borrow money. You can get financial help and get funded online to start enriching your education by adding that skill to improve your professional life and earn you money in the long run.
These loans are considered unsecured, meaning they don't require collateral like your car or home to secure or guarantee the loan. The lender takes many risks since they only validate your income and employment information in most cases.
2. Volunteer to learn new skills
Volunteering is an excellent way of learning new skills because you will be surrounded by people with similar interests, some of whom already have significant experience. That means you get to practice as you learn and receive free and helpful feedback.
Not to mention it will be an enriching experience, psychologically speaking. Being able to help others in need and improve yourself at the same time is priceless. But, since we mentioned the price, it's also entirely free.
There are endless websites and organizations to help you find the type of volunteer work you can use to improve your skills. You can try volunteer.ca, for example. Apart from the hard skills you may be targeting, you will discover your soft skills' significant improvement. Those will prove to be extremely handy at your future job, whatever that may be.
If you're wondering what types of skills volunteering can help you learn, here are a few examples: sales skills, report writing, industry-related skills, handling timelines, customer service.
3. Get an internship become an expert
An internship could be a fantastic opportunity even if you were at a stage in your life when you thought you wouldn't turn to such an experience anymore. Being an intern is an excellent way of adding new skills to your résumé and, at the same time, experiencing every aspect of the actual activity first-hand.
If, for whatever reasons, you want to make a drastic change in your career, consider an internship. You will gain valuable insight into the industry you want to enter and will observe every useful aspect up close.
So, once you know what branch you want to pursue, look for available internships and do your best to assimilate all the information that will be available during this experience. Apart from the knowledge you get, you will also interact with people who can later provide references for your future employer. So, despite being a low-paid activity, you will have significant benefits from it in the long run.
4. Source a mentorship to gain new knowledge
A mentor will be an excellent guide into your future career, as long as you find the right person. You will be able to tap into their knowledge and learn in-depth details that would otherwise be unavailable.
The best part about learning from a mentor is that the information they provide is realistic and to the point. The theory is great, but to understand the practical elements, you need someone who uses them regularly and has extended experience in the field you are trying to enter.
Your mentor can also help you adjust your career goals once they see you in action and evaluate your potential. Don't think about this from a negative perspective; you could be aiming higher than you had planned.
Indeed, finding mentorship can be quite challenging, especially if you cannot turn to someone you know for guidance. If you need to approach an expert and ask them to mentor you, it's essential to show them you already have useful skills to offer. No one is likely to spend time teaching you unless there's some quid pro quo.
So, look around for someone you can truly learn from, and then offer to ease their activity by taking over a task you can perform well. And then make sure you take in all the insights that become available.
5. Practice what you learn
Whatever skill you want to acquire, learning the theory is only the first step. The best way to truly understand the new activity is by starting to perform it. If you learn by practicing, you will gain more profound knowledge and learn how to handle each issue that you may encounter.
Remember what it was like starting your first job after graduation? You were pumped with theory and even had some idea of the practical aspects, as your professors did their best to prepare you for your future career. But you soon found that your workplace was where all the information you were armed with started to make sense.
That's the strategy to apply when trying to learn a new skill, especially if it's completely different from what you did before. As soon as you learn the basics, start doing it yourself. You may not do that well at first, but by facing every obstacle and finding the solution yourself, you will begin to progress. And you will end up mastering your new skill sooner than you think.
6. Upgrade your career with new skills
You may choose to learn a new skill because particular circumstances force you to change your career. But the truth is the entire process of studying and applying that skill will make you progress as an individual. Not only will you add a valuable section to your résumé, but you will also stimulate your mind, improve your neural connections, and keep your mind young and alert.
But once you have learned the basics of your future activity, putting it into practice isn't always that easy. Depending on the field you choose, you may have to invest more than time and ambition into mastering your new skill. Sometimes you also need financial resources to complete your professional transformation.
Still, learning a new skill is crucial, even it involves spending some money. As soon as you complete the learning stage, you can start putting your new skill to good use. And hopefully, your investment will pay off, and you will find the job you were looking for.