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Reskilling and upskilling: how to prepare for future success

22 July 2021

How To Prepare Retrain Upskill

Reskilling (making a pivot in your career by undertaking new education or training) and upskilling (learning additional skills for your current role) have never been more important for career success.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown not just our day-to-day lives into disarray, but our work lives as well. From business shutdowns to enforced working-from-home, many Australians are re-evaluating exactly what they want out of their careers. State and federal governments have recognised this and are making funding available. In Victoria, for example, the Skills for Economic Recovery Package is putting $163 million towards helping people acquire new skills.

So, is now the time to reskill and expand your abilities or upskill yourself for a better job in your chosren career? Here, we explore the benefits, considerations, and the options available to you.

What are the benefits of upskilling?

There’s no denying that the COVID-19 crisis and issues such as environmental sustainability change our world permanently, and the workplace is not immune. Changes to how, where and when we work will continue to evolve over the coming months and years, and we all need to consistently reskill and upskill to adapt to new norms. Upskilling and reskilling also help progress our careers and businesses in which we work.

Of course, time and effort are involved in broadening skill sets, but there are many benefits, including:

·        Increased employability and greater chance for promotions.

·        Arming yourself with both soft and hard skills can promote career longevity.

·        You will probably be seen as someone the business can trust to perform effectively in your role over the long term.

·        Reduces the chance of redundancy due to your ability to adapt and pivot when required.

·        May be used to help increase your salary at your next annual review.

How to start reskilling or upskilling

Whether you decide to reskill or upskill for the benefit of your career, the best place to start is with research and analysis of the data. In respect to your specific industry, understanding the current and growing trends will help you analyse how those trends are or will be relevant to your sector in the coming years. This will give you an insight into exactly where and on what you should concentrate your reskilling/upskilling endeavours.

Not all skills are created equal, so be mindful of the time and financial obligations required to commit to any option you choose to consider. Strategic upskilling – i.e. choosing specific education or training to reach a clear goal – is the best way to approach things. For example, if you work in a digital marketing team then taking a relevant SEO course will be more valuable than investing in your sales skills – unless, of course, you want to grow your skill set to switch to an entirely new role. Technically, this might be seen as reskilling.

What sort of training is available for me

There are numerous ways to expand your employability, and thanks to the shift to the online world during the pandemic, there are even more remote upskilling opportunities than before.

Here are some tips on how to get started:

·        Short-term training: Research online training courses, virtual conferences and networking events.

·        Learning from the best: Search for industry associations relevant to your sector or invest in finding a mentor for one-on-one career advice.

·        Monitor trends: Keep informed by reading the latest industry news and subscribing to journals for additional knowledge and expertise.

·        Invest your time: Volunteering can be a good way to get your foot in the door.

·        Getting certified: If you are looking for a career switch or have goals of reaching senior management and even the C-suite, then you may need to consider long-term study options. Enrolling in advanced education for a certificate or degree can give you the ‘on-paper’ skills to apply for those enviable roles.

Finally, don’t get too caught up in upskilling just for the technical requirements of a job. While businesses will absolutely value updated technical skills, they also want employees who have strong soft skills. Soft skills are things like flexibility, problem-solving, teamwork, digital literacy and having a professional attitude at work – essentially, all the skills that help you fit in and thrive in the workplace. Ultimately, your mix of hard and soft skills is what makes you a well-rounded part of a team, so play to your strengths and be courageous in how you choose to upskill or reskill yourself.

If you’re not sure where to begin on your journey, join our business community of empowered women at Ruby Connection. From inspirational and educational content, to a place where you can connect with like-minded women, we can help you get started on your path to greatness.

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

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