By Singapore Teaching Centre, British Council

07 November 2022 - 10:00

Three reasons adults avoid skilling-up in business English

Three reasons adults avoid skilling-up in business – and how to overcome them

Upskilling can set you on a direct course towards your professional goals. From helping you secure that promotion, to giving you an edge in a competitive job market, the benefits to your career can be significant. As for your personal development, continuous learning can bring an incredible sense of fulfilment, and give you renewed confidence in your abilities.

So what’s holding you back? Let’s take a look at three common reasons adults avoid going back to school, and how to overcome them.

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Now isn’t the right time

When you have several commitments to manage all at once – work, family, a social life and other adult responsibilities – it’s understandable that taking a new class might not feel like an immediate priority. But if you have a goal you would like to achieve, then the ideal time to start work on it is now, even if that means taking small, manageable steps in the right direction.

Consider whether you will realistically have more flexibility in your busy schedule in the future, or whether the best solution is to make a learning plan that works for you. Upskilling doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment – you can choose to study part-time, or hire a private tutor who can create a course that meets your specific needs. This gives you the option to fit in your classes whenever you have the time and energy to focus, and in whichever location is most convenient.

I don’t know if a course will help my career

One of the biggest challenges faced by adult learners is simply deciding which course to take. It could be that you don’t have a clear goal in sight, or you’re not convinced that you need to study to make your way up the career ladder. There’s also the problem of expertise: if you’ve reached a comfortable point in your career, ‘knowing’ the demands of your role (or wanting colleagues to perceive that you do) can prevent you from being an active learner. 

Whatever the reason for your hesitancy, it’s natural to feel unsure whether a class is right for you. Have a conversation with someone who can help you determine the right track, such as your manager, a mentor, HR professional or family member. By talking, you’ll gain a clearer idea of where you’d like your studies to lead you, or the skills gaps your company is looking to fill. 

Keep an open mind about subjects that fall outside of your professional remit, too – employers are increasingly looking for candidates whose skills cover various areas of a business. A great place to start is with a Business English course, which is focused on communication – an essential skill regardless of your occupation or seniority.

I’m intimidated

Walking into a classroom as an adult can make you nervous, no matter what you were once like as a student, or how much you already know about the subject. It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone, knowing that you are exposing yourself to the chance of failure. Maybe going back to school even feels like a backwards step, rather than a proactive move forwards.

If any of this sounds familiar, that’s all the more reason to make your move and get back into the classroom. You won’t be the only one experiencing nerves on the day, and learning new skills is a fantastic way to boost your confidence and self-esteem, both in the workplace and on a more personal level. Be assured that when you start a new course, you will find support in both your tutor and your peers – and if you prefer, you can opt for one-to-one tuition so that your learning is fully matched to your needs.

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About our Business English course

Our Business English courses are designed for working professionals who want to advance in their careers. Developed to help you communicate confidently, network professionally and write accurately, classes can be delivered part-time at one of our centres, or in a 1:1/Small group setting at flexible times and in a location of your choice. 

You will benefit from personalised content linked to your career and learning aims, coupled with individual feedback on presentations, speeches, emails and reports. Our students also receive exclusive access to MyNetwork networking events and workshops, where you can expand your professional network and practise your skills immediately in a welcoming environment.

Learn more about developing your business skills with the British Council. Elsewhere on our blog, five top business communication skills, read how strong communication skills can help you thrive in your career.