Five Tips for Upskilling this Summer
With enhancements in new technology such as the development of AI (artificial intelligence), automation, and ChatGPT, professionals at all stages of their careers should think about upskilling.
Recent research by Goldman Sachs has predicted that generative AI has the power to replace up to 300 million jobs. And, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), half of us will need to reskill in the next five years.
What is upskilling?
Upskilling is the process of getting new skills and competencies to stay relevant in a job. It is important to upskill to keep pace with a changing workplace and to remain competitive by learning skills that are in demand.
What are the benefits of upskilling?
Upskilling can help increase productivity and efficiency, as the more skilled you are, the less time you will spend researching how to carry out tasks. It can also help address the skills gap created by digitalisation and automation trends in workplaces. Upskilling is fundamental in the modern job market.
Employers from tech to finance companies are advertising in-house skills programmes as part of their employee incentive programmes. If your employer is providing reskilling opportunities, you are getting paid to perform better in your role. In terms of employee satisfaction, training and development are high on the list, alongside share schemes, flexible working, and wellbeing support.
Upskilling: a key to promotions
Successful upskilling can enable you to apply for a variety of different roles. But it also has benefits for those looking to stay with their current employer. Career advancement is a great reason to upskill. According to Talent LMS:
- 33% of employees upskill with the purpose of being promoted
- 29% invest time in upskilling because they want a pay increase.
- 66% say that the joy of learning new things and developing new skills is their top reason for upskilling.
Upskilling: the gateway to a new employer
For those not wanting to stay in their job forever, adding new skills or certifications to your CV enables you to stand out from other candidates. Employers value employees who take their learning seriously. Demonstrating this increases your value to prospective employers. In a skills-short market, companies like to hire people with a growth mindset who are both well-trained and versatile.
How to upskill without employer support
If you are working for an employer that doesn’t offer training or development in the skills you are after, it is important to realise that not all learning and development is formal. There are good informal and unaccredited courses (many of them online-based). These are easy to access, sometimes free, and involve a degree of self-assessment. Moreover, books and articles on the subject you want to learn can also help you develop new skills. Find books and articles written by experts in the area.
Examples of upskilling
There is no one way to upskill and examples of upskilling can include:
- Training courses from external or internal sources
- Online learning
- Lunch-and-learn sessions
- Reading books and articles
- Watching videos
1. Getting started with upskilling
Start by identifying the skills that are in demand in your field and that you need to advance in your career through a promotion or by applying for a new role outside of your organisation. The WEF’s jobs report has identified its top 10 work skills of tomorrow.
If you are an IT contractor, Python, machine learning, and data management are skills that fit well with AI. In tech, there is a focus on user experience (CX), design, and product. If you’re working in business, softer skills such as human resources and leadership are sought after. Across sectors, critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills employers believe will grow in prominence in the next five years.
2. Find out what is available
Some organisations have dedicated in-house upskilling courses, while other companies will also fund employees to source training courses and workshops. Speak to your line manager and/or learning and development team at work to get an idea of what is available. If courses aren’t available, find out about mentoring or work shadowing opportunities.
3. Pave your new career path
When you learn new skills, you may end up finding a new career path. You may also discover new passions. Not only is upskilling yourself good for career development but also for personal development.
Practice is key when it comes to developing skills. Once you have learned something new, apply it to your work or personal life to reinforce your learning. You could offer to deliver a lunch and learn session to your team at work as a way to seek feedback and reinforce your learning.
4. Develop a healthy growth mindset
There are many online and offline courses available that can enable you to learn new skills. Look for courses that are relevant to your desired job title and/or industry. Ask for feedback from others on your progress. This can help you identify areas where you need to improve and provide motivation to keep continuing.
5. Keep upskilling and carry on
Gone are the days of a ‘job for life’. Nowadays, no job can guarantee you lifelong job security. Keeping up your knowledge in your area of expertise will help you to be more productive at work and also increase your performance, which can enhance your career. Don’t forget that upskilling is a continuous process, so keep learning and practicing to stay relevant in your industry.