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Upskilling: Your guide to future-proofing your career

By Emilly Parris | 22 September 2021


Looking for an effective way to keep your skills up-to-date for the job market? Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are concerned with their job security. With some experiencing redundancies and setbacks from their financial situation, those who have undergone this are likely to take matters into their own hands by finding ways to "future-proof" their career.

Upskilling, for example, is taking the opportunity to grow your skill set and establishing ways to earn the relevant qualifications. As the Australian economy shifts and more jobs are becoming taken over through automation, it's encouraged that Australians, no matter where they are in their professional life, should make upskilling a main priority. 

What is upskilling in the workplace?

young bearded man studying online

Upskilling in the workplace is a great opportunity for individuals looking to flourish in their roles and wanting to future-proof their career. By taking the time to either undertake an online course or learn new skills in a short time frame, this gives employees the chance to prove themslves and re-engage in their positions, particularly if they're experiencing work burnout or needing a new career challenge. 

Upskilling can be done through various forms and these can include:

1. Short-term training. 

Busy professionals don't have to miss out if they want to upskill and want to gain new skills. Training is not only subject to pursuing a university degree - it can be as simple as completing a short course and gaining specialised skills to stand out in the job market or industry.

2. Industry trends.

Whether it's business or community services, professionals need to keep up with industry trends so that they have insight to what skills and knowledge are required to thrive in their current responsibilities. 

3. Virtual conferences and networking events.

Connecting with people in the industry can be a great way for employees to engage in their roles, particularly if they work in a role where they interact with many external stakeholders. Virtual conferences and networking events are fantastic to attend for those wanting learn from the people of influence in their industry.

4. Volunteering.

Companies who encourage their employees to take some volunteer leave not only support a charity or cause but it can also help their workers adapt important transferable skills that can set them up well during their career trajectory. Transferable skills are becoming highly sought-after by employees, since they typically excel in areas that are important in the workplace, such as communication, leadership and problem-solving.

5. Being mentored.

Mentorship opportunities are perfect for those who are at the start of their careers. Senior staff can benefit from training junior employees since they'll be the ones leading them in training and teaching them valuable skills, preparing them for other opportunities they may encounter as they grow in their career. 

What are the benefits of upskilling?

Learning and growing as a professional is ideal no matter what profession you're in. Investing time into your education not only serves a great purpose but it can help you develop a unique skill set where potential employers can offer you career opportunities you never thought you could access.

There are plenty of benefits that come with upskilling - particularly for organisations:
  • Improved employee retention: Employees are likely to serve longer tenure at an organisation if professional opportunities are offered. By providing them the opportunity for further study, this allows them to gain a new perspective when it comes to approaching their work.
  • A boost in employee morale: Offering opportunities of reskilling your workforce means employees are likely to be happier in their roles and have a brighter outlook in the future of the organisation. Professional opportunities that promote upskilling also gives employees a sense of purpose and direction in their career.
  • Attracting new talent: Organisations looking to expand their talent pool and want to recruit highly skilled candidates should look to offering professional opportunities. This is an effective recruitment strategy since people looking for a new job are likely to apply for a role that offers them learning opportunities where they can grow with the organisation. 

Why do we need to upskill? 

candidates waiting for job interview

There are areas where skills gaps still exist (e.g, cyber security) and new developments around technology and applications, so ensuring that people have the relevant skills and knowledge to keep up with the changing economy is important to prepare them for evolving roles in their industry. 

According to the 22nd Global CEO Survey run by Pwc, 79% of CEOs were concerned for the lack of essential skills employees possessed. Companies should focus on upskilling employees and make a push for them to acquire in-demand digital skills that promotes growth in their professional development, which in turn can improve their job satisfaction as well as improve employee retention rates. 

Develop your skillset in a changing work economy

Taking proactive steps to improve your skills can give you more options that will help you not only survive a recession—but thrive in a role that you’re passionate about. If you’re committed to progressing in your career, now is the time to invest in yourself, boost your credentials and get yourself qualified to work in your dream role.

If you’re interested in learning more, chat with one of Upskilled's education consultants on 1300 009 924 and enquire about an online course today.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in July 2020. Content has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
 
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