What direction to choose for studies or complementary studies once at work?
For students finishing secondary school, it is sometimes hard to choose a direction to follow for higher studies as there is such a broad selection of different courses.
Personally, my advice would be to choose an option that includes languages. Why?
Because, nowadays, it is increasingly difficult to find candidates who speak several languages in Belgium. Some people speak one national language (French or Dutch) and focus on English as a second language. Of course, this is already something. But let us not forget that we live in a bilingual country and that Dutch and French are equally important, especially for future employers based in major cities (Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Namur, etc.).
A great course to follow is – for example – Office Management. This direction offers a wide range of possibilities: subjects include IT, social media, languages, law, HR, Marketing, ethics, etc. You will also acquire practical office experience as the curriculum includes internships. This makes you even more competitive on the job market once you graduate.
For anyone who thinks a different direction will offer them more possibilities, they better think twice and choose anyway a study including languages. If you speak at least three languages in Belgium (Dutch, French and English), many doors will open. If you have the courage to study Spanish or German, or any other European language, the sky is the limit!
Building up your career is strategic. Think ahead and know where your strengths and talents lie. Find a direction in which you can learn many things, but most of all, choose a direction in which you will be successful and one that will give you a passport to finding a job when you graduate.
If you have already graduated and have been working for some time, but you would like to re-orient your career or build on your acquired skills, my advice would be the same: choose to learn a language (if not French or Dutch, any other language that could be of use for your career development).
Some companies offer their employees the possibility to learn a language while working and pay for these classes. In this case: take the opportunity and go for it!
Other skills can also be trained on-the-job. These will allow you to discover different paths and domains of interests.
I may, of course, be biased due to my current job and responsibilities. I, nevertheless, stand behind my opinion: if you choose languages, you maximise your chances of finding a job.
I believe that one’s purpose in life is to be happy, to be able to utilise and build on one's competencies and talents and to achieve – and enjoy – a good work/life balance.
I wish you all the best in your choice of studies and for your future career!