It’s easy to think that learning is over and done with once school or university is left behind. However, the fact is we are all learning each and every day, or at least we should be!

Much of our learning comes from our daily experience, but is this really enough? In today’s fast-changing world it possibly is not. We probably need to take a more structured, disciplined approach to developing what we know, taking advantage of the growing opportunities that exist.

The pursuit of knowledge can be for personal or professional reasons and can lead to personal development, greater employability, competitiveness and hopefully a greater understanding of the world around us – all good things.

Whether related to poultry and eggs or anything else, there is a beneficial economic impact from learning. Those with more education tend to find higher-paying occupations, leaving monetary, cultural and entrepreneurial impressions on their communities. Those businesses with a highly skilled and highly informed workforce are likely to perform better than those with less education.

To quote the social ecologist Peter F. Drucker: “We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change, and the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.”

Increasing knowledge constantly  

Within the poultry industry opportunities abound for increasing knowledge. I don’t want to blow any trumpets, but and Poultry International can be very good places to start!

  Of course, we are only weeks away from the World’s Poultry Congress 2012, where delegates will be spoilt for choice in terms of learning. The congress is a key activity of the World’s Poultry Science Association, which celebrates its 100th anniversary – a long time indeed in helping the poultry industry to learn.

To help celebrate this anniversary, Poultry International recently published an article by current World’s Poultry Science Association president Dr. Bob Pym, and with comment from various past presidents. Together, we looked at just how the association has helped and continues to benefit the poultry industry in addition to how it and the industry have evolved and changed.

 Alongside the World’s Poultry Science Association Congress, next month will also see a new president for the association, Prof. Edir Nepomuceno da Silva.

  In his view, the World’s Poultry Science Association has created a global platform where science and industry can meet, but he argues that it has achieved far more than this. When the association was founded, he notes, the primary focus was on production. However, times change, and product safety, environmental stewardship and balancing animal behavior with human need, among other things, have all become much more important.

  As needs have changed, the industry has had to learn how to respond – our September Poultry International special issue will be demonstration enough of this – and the World’s Poultry Science Association has played no small part in this change.

It is interesting to note a recent article by Mingan Choct, CEO of the Poultry CRC, says: “A continuous gain in efficiency, balanced against animal welfare needs, will not occur unless we have a new generation of innovative thinkers who have an appreciation of the poultry industry. Their appreciation comes from exposure to the scientists and industry leaders of today, and their understanding of and immersion in the exciting array of science involving poultry.” If that is not a call for learning, I don’t know what is. 

Knowledge builds knowledge, and it is important to keep this virtuous circle going, no matter at what level. We all want happier and better lives, but without a commitment to finding out how these things happen, progress will be minimal. To quote Drucker again: “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged and increased constantly, or it vanishes”. An interesting thought to commit to memory.