UPSKILL, NOT ROADKILL - why upskilling is a no brainer
The younger you are, the more you feel comfortable with technology rapidly changing the nature of work. Upskilling is the way forward. The alternative is allowing the change juggernaut to leave you as roadkill or its equivalent.
We may tend to do our 9-to-5 and return home to other concerns, but with 40% of workers worried that their job would be obsolete in the next five years, you must stay alert to the big picture.
Many reasons show the time’s right to upskill. A diverse range of skills makes you more attractive to potential employers. New skills can also ensure you stay competitive in the job market.
With upskilling, you bring added value to your organisation. An alternative to reskilling is training for a new position if your job ceases to exist or alters so much that you need to upgrade your capabilities.
The pace and places where upskilling is essential keep expanding. Working in tech or banking, for example, once meant you could safely say: “There’s little chance of that juggernaut running me down.”
That’s not a credible view now. With thousands of techies and bankers unceremoniously being tossed onto the unemployment lists, there are few “safe havens” apart from upskilling. Your decision to upskill, therefore, is a no-brainer.
Upskilling bolsters your earning potential. It also increases your chances of getting hired or promoted. Further, it keeps you relevant in your field, adapting to new job requirements, leading to greater job security and satisfaction.
You may need to upgrade not just your tech know-how. While soft skills seem intangible, they are now increasingly important. Greater reliance on automation and algorithms goes with abilities such as communication, problem-solving, networking and critical thinking. As more work becomes remote, real risks arise from poor communication and weak teamwork.
Many of the soft skills are built into specific vocations. They also reflect your attributes, personality, attitudes, and intuitions. Here are some essential steps towards upskilling:
Step 1. Seek more responsibilities
You may need to push for these rather than waiting for your boss to hand them to you on a plate. Alternatively, take advantage of available on-the-job training. This will help you match your new skills with the organisation’s needs.
Another great way of upskilling is moving permanently or temporarily between teams at work. Your new learning on the job can be with the supportive umbrella of new colleagues.
Search for a secondment to gain first-hand experience in a different part of your organisation, another department, a job role, or even another industry. Also, consider budding up with colleagues who have different strengths from you. Carefully research the case for this.
Step 3. Industry Courses and Qualifications
A professional body that offers educational courses and industry-recognised qualifications in your work area can also enhance your skills. Recognised qualifications can bring your knowledge back into the workplace to share new skills with colleagues. Employers will often encourage and may even sponsor you to gain qualifications. Again, research and be proactive in asking to go in this direction.
Step 4. Online Learning Tools
Continuous training lies at the heart of upskilling. Online tools can upskill you with minimum disruption to the workplace. They offer a flexible and cost-effective approach. There are accredited providers for almost every work sector and discipline. You can study at your own pace and avoid travel costs and time spent away from the office. Consider compiling your e-learning programme of free, curated webinars, podcasts, and TED talks.
Step 5. Seminars and Events
Attend relevant seminars and events led by sector experts. As well as gaining exposure to important trends in your work area, you will also have the chance to network, exchanging ideas and information with industry peers.
Step 6. External Training Providers
There are scores of specialist trainers ready to upskill you in specific soft skills, such as public speaking, creativity, and presentation techniques. Employers are also looking increasingly towards training in mindfulness and stress management.
Take the opportunities
Upskilling and all that it represents can help you get ahead and find passion in your work.
It shows that you’re invested in your job and your future. That commitment will attract attention and enhance your success prospects.
For more ways to succeed at work, listen to my next Podcast! Every Monday