Taken all together, education, training and development enable you to succeed. Education prepares you for a career -- it gets your foot in the door. But to keep that door open, you need training so you can learn specific job requirements and employer expectations. Development then introduces you to a selection of new doors, providing you with the opportunity to grow.
Education vs. Training
It’s not unusual to see the words “education” and “training” used synonymously -- but there is a difference. Think of education as focusing on why. You go to school to learn theories and concepts, and to understand why things work they way they do. Training, on the other hand, focuses on how. Consider an analogy in the kitchen: while training enables you to cook, education enables you to create new recipes.
Education helps you develop analytical and problem solving capabilities. You might be skilled to perform a job, but if things go wrong, hands-on skills won't always be enough to make them right again. The ability to think things through by analyzing different variables and coming up with effective and innovative solutions comes about through education. When you can discover ways to do things better and save your employer money, you become a valued asset to company leaders.
Training benefits you and your entire workplace by building specific skills and clarifying both the right way and the wrong way to do things. You might go through on-the-job training or attend formal classes to learn how to do specific activities related to your job responsibilities. You’ll probably also be expected to attend corporate-wide events covering things like harassment or safety training so you don’t have to worry what you might face at work each day.
Development allows you to keep growing. Unless you’re OK with doing the same thing day in and day out for the next 30 years, explore opportunities to develop new skills and capabilities. Developmental activities can involve either education or training. If you’re in information technologies, you might target a training class to get certified on a new piece of equipment. If you’ve got your eye on leadership, an educational program in management development might be the way to go.
A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.