Why to upskill and how?

What is upskilling?

Upskilling is all about adding to your skillset.  We all have rudimentary skills that apply to our jobs, then there are specialist skills and soft skills. All these kinds of skills can be built upon, and they should be built upon! More now than ever.

Why do we need to upskill?

There are several reasons why it’s important to upskill. First and foremost, as mentioned in the World Economic Forum’s article, ‘Preparing for the Future of Work’ technology is accelerating at a crazy pace. Machines are increasingly able to outperform humans when it comes to certain tasks. With a fast and increasing focus on AI, people are going to have to learn new skills in order to prevent themselves from becoming redundant.

Technology is changing everything but there are also political and geographical matters that seem to be transforming businesses and the way people operate. By upskilling, we can help prevent any shock of uncertain circumstances and changes. We can future-proof our employment by increasing our skill set.

Upskilling is also a great opportunity to expand your horizons. The more you are willing to learn and grow the more potential employers will be interested in you. You may also find yourself moving up the career ladder quicker by upskilling.

You never know, you may find a new passion when learning about new things.

How do we upskill?

Businesses should be investing in specific training and employees should be participating actively.  In terms of training, interactive sessions are great and several sessions that cover a range of information on the given topic and how to put that information to practice is key. If employees want to take up external study to do with their line of work, employers should also be supporting and encouraging this. External study is a great way to gain accreditations and expert knowledge that will help you go forward in your workforce.

However, school and formal training isn’t everything. Many businesses are increasingly preferring experience over degrees. To gain more experience and expand your knowledge this way, you can learn from colleagues. For example, you can shadow someone, or help on a specific project that is not necessarily in your job description. Another way to learn on the job is to challenge yourself and ask your manager for opportunities that are more difficult that will force you to adapt and learn.

It's also important and should go without saying that you need to remain informed about your industry and industries that have a relationship with yours. This can help with several things. For one, it can assist you in understanding the kind of career path and journey you’d like to take. You’ll see how with the increase of tech also comes increase of more obscure and new jobs that didn’t exist when you entered the workforce. This is exciting. It means there is, in fact, more opportunity for you rather than less. Secondly, when you’re up to date and have knowledge of your industry, you’ll know exactly what skills you need to gain or grow.

Time needs to be dedicated to upskilling from both a company perspective as well as an employee perspective. Technology isn’t slowing down, and the workforce is changing by the week, it’s important that we remain as relevant as we can possibly be.