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New research shows that up to 40 per cent of university degrees may soon be obsolete. Find out how can you ensure your skills stay relevant and up to date in today's rapidly changing job market. 

These days it seems like just about everyone has a tertiary qualification. What once made you stand out of the crowd is becoming a minimum requirement for many industries. But new research shows that up to 40 per cent of university degrees may soon be obsolete due to the rapidly changing nature of industry and employment.

The traditional university model

With the rapid rate of technological change today, by the time you finish a three or four year degree the things you learnt at the start may already be obsolete. It may take years or even decades for you to be in a position to apply the theoretical knowledge that many degrees focus on.

Universities aren't keeping pace with the needs of employers and students are entering the workforce without the practical skills required for graduate jobs. Industry are calling for universities to incorporate more work-integrated learning into courses so students have a chance to put theory into practise during their studies. 

The rise of lifelong learning

When you think about it, it doesn't really make a lot of sense that a couple of years of study at the start of your career will prepare you for a lifetime in the workforce. But the traditional degree structure doesn't really allow people to learn and upskill throughout their career. 

While tertiary qualifications are a great base to build your education upon, in today's world it's also just as important to keep your skills up to date as it is to get them in the first place. Before you start panicking about having to invest the time and money into another lengthy qualification, the good news is there are plenty of ways to get practical, industry-relevant skills and qualifications quickly and easily.

Lifelong learning option #1 - short courses and micro credentials 

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Ain't nobody got time to go back to full-time study. The good news is you don't have to. These days there are plenty of short courses and microcredentials (mini qualifications or skill upgrades) that you can complete in as little as a day. Instead of completing a full qualification, pick and choose the subjects that are the most relevant to your current role or future career goals. If they're accredited courses you can always use these as a stepping stone to complete a full qualification in the future. 

Many courses are now also offered part time or online — no need to go to a campus or commit to full-time study. With these flexible study options you can study when and where it suits you and fit your studies around your other work or family commitments. 

Lifelong learning option #2 - upskilling

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If you've already got a great qualification under your belt, now's the time to add to it. Whether you want to move into a management role, specialise your skills, or take on more responsibility, adding to your existing skills is a great way to boost your career. 

if you're in a trade, consider doing an industry licence or specialisation. Or if you're a professional, take your career to the next level by upgrading your certificate qualification into a diploma (you may even be eligible for recognition of prior learning).  

Lifelong learning option #3 - cross skilling

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If you're already highly qualified you might be thinking you're out of the firing line —wrong. Cross skilling is a great way to add value to your organisation and future career prospects. For example if you're a hairdresser you could consider completing a beauty course so you can offer complementary services. Or if you've trained in software development, you might want to expand your skillset and study website development as well. 

Once you're cross skilled it can open up new job opportunities and career paths. It will also make you even more valuable to your current employer as you can transfer your multiple skills between different projects as needed. 


No matter what your career goals, keeping your qualifications up to date can help you stand out from the crowd. Get started today with a practical, industry-relevant course from TAFE Queensland. 

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