Many years ago, a professor told my class that what we learned in college would help us do our jobs initially, but it would be critical that we actively and constantly learn about new developments and grow our capabilities throughout our careers.
I did not initially comprehend the significance of that insight, but today I can say it is one of the best pieces of career advice I ever received. Continuing my education to improve my knowledge, skills, capabilities and awareness of relevant new developments has been critical in my professional practice.
Stephen Covey calls this principle of balanced self-renewal “sharpening the saw.” It is something we commit to as ASSP members through our Code of Professional Conduct.
Fulfilling this responsibility has not always been as easy as it is today. When I first started my career, most continuing education was delivered via lecture in a classroom setting. When the class ended, so did the learning. We didn’t have discussion boards or an online community to extend the experience. Our only distance learning was reading magazines and journals, and online learning; just-in-time learning resources like videos or blended learning opportunities were unheard of.
But ASSP had the vision to change that. Recognizing that learning could happen anywhere at any time, we began to offer webinars. We built out our offerings to include conference recordings, learning videos, discussion forums and virtual symposia.
With the release of ISO 45001 last year, we introduced our first blended learning certificate program. We also developed the LearnEx model for delivering traditional face-to-face courses entirely online. Across all of these opportunities, our goal is to help you develop skills you can immediately put into practice to tackle OSH challenges in your organizations and industries.
We have now codified our vision for continuing education in our strategic plan (which you can read at www.assp.org/about/strategic-plan). Specifically, let’s consider these three strategic goals:
- Grow and diversify professional development revenue sources. ASSP will continue to enhance the quality of our traditional classroom experiences. We will also bolster our formal course offerings by increasing the number of courses we offer online. Soon, most of the classes currently available only in a classroom setting will be available online.
- Improve the OSH professionals’ knowledge, skills and abilities by increasing the number of OSH professionals who have earned an ASSP certificate. In today’s competitive work environment, keeping our saws sharpened is more important than ever. Earning an ASSP certificate is a great way to demonstrate knowledge of a specific topic area, which enables us to deliver greater value in our organization. That’s why ASSP is committed to developing more high-quality certificate programs on new and emerging topics.
- Sustain ASSP’s longstanding reputation as the preferred source for education among safety professionals by growing the learning experiences available to OSH professionals. As we continue to offer more education and deliver it in multiple formats, we know that doing more simply is not enough. We must maintain the high quality of these learning experiences. That is one reason ASSP is offering more blended learning opportunities. By providing activities to complete before we come to class, our instructors can maximize in-class interaction and deliver a more engaging experience.
While ASSP works hard to help us develop the knowledge and skills we need to achieve our career goals, we can’t do it without you. Help advance ASSP’s continuing education efforts, whether by suggesting new courses and topics, or by submitting a proposal to deliver learning yourself. I encourage you to share your ideas with ASSP’s professional development team at email@example.com.
Through our collective participation, expertise and commitment to lifelong learning, we can help all ASSP members sharpen their saws and enhance our reputation as the preferred source for education among safety professionals.