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Why there is no better time to up-skill

24 June 2020

R26 Networking Virtually Or Upskilling

We are in turbulent economic times – both globally and locally. Disruption across industries due to the Covid-19 pandemic has been widescale. Looking further into the future – and the affects automation and artificial intelligence will have on the way we work – and you would have to say the next decade or more is going to be ‘interesting’. There is no better time to up-skill than when you have the time and especially if you're in the workplace and can make use of company supplied resources. 

Remote working - on the rise before Covid-19 – is a trend experts say is likely to continue. Another growing trend is the automation of work. Research shows that 25-46 percent of current jobs in Australia may be automated by 2030 – and the mix of skills required for all jobs is likely to shift.

When you consider these two events, are you like many Australians wondering where you and your career are left?

There are things you can do now to stay agile, adaptable, and future proof your career. Upskilling is one action you can take.

What is up-skilling?

Upskilling is basically investing in training and learning that helps you update your skills so you can stay relevant, adaptable and employable within your industry.

It might require doing online or face-to-face courses, workshops or seminars. Or it might involve teaching yourself different skills that could be beneficial to your current role and future employment.

3 essential soft skills of the future

The 4th industrial revolution is real and it’s here, and it’s bringing AI, big data, virtual reality, blockchains and more. It’s never been more important to be comfortable with using and learning new technologies – whether you’re accessing data or determining what to do with it. And of course, it’s important to have ‘hard skills’ – those skills that are specific to your actual job. But that’s not all you’ll need to navigate the future workplace.

Soft skills – the kind that robots simply can’t compete with – are also all-important and include:

  1. Creative and critical thinking Bringing new ways of thinking, creating and problem-solving to the workplace is essential now but will be even more so going forward. You’ll be not only working with data, but able to think critically and creatively about how to interpret, use and share it.
  2. A high EQ Emotional intelligence, the ability to manage a team with empathy and working well with others is a skill employers will be looking for. You’ll also be good at coping with change, and see workplace shifts as an opportunity for innovation.
  3. A growth mindset The workplace is changing at a rapid pace, and the most successful employees will be agile and adaptable. If you’re actively seeking out new ways to grow, learn and work on your professional development, and bringing your tech skills and your soft skills into the changing workplace, you’re much more likely to be in demand.

How to up-skill

In today’s thriving e-learning landscape, there’s no shortage of ways to update your skillset. You’ll find so many learning opportunities online, whether it’s a short video, two-day masterclasses, workshop or entire university degree. All can be done right from the comfort of your own home and fitted in around your day job, if you have one. Here are some tips for getting started.

Tip 1: Consider TAFE and university courses

There are a range of online courses at TAFE Digital, or check out Open Universities Australia to see if there are any online courses that might suit. You can also search for courses and degrees further afield with websites like the Distance Learning Portal.

You’ll find diplomas, single subjects and full degrees that can be completed entirely online and often at your own pace.

Tip 2: Look into MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free to do and there are no entry requirements (although there may be a fee for a certificate of completion).

The course content is often developed by staff from prestigious universities or learning institutions and delivered via online platforms or via institutions themselves such as MIT, Harvard, Microsoft or Monash University in Australia.

Tip 3: Browse online course platforms

Course platforms abound online, and you’ll find a huge range of professional courses on everything from cloud computing to photography. Some are free, and some charge a fee for access.

You’ll find lots of courses at online platforms like Coursera, Lynda (now LinkedIn Learning), Udemy (a huge selection of courses across all disciplines), Skillshare (good for learning creative skills) and Pluralsight (for learning tech skills). Masterclass is also great if you want to learn from the ‘world’s greats’ – be it famous actors, chefs, writers, directors, scientists and everything in between.

The future

Things are changing in the world of work, and upskilling is becoming more important than ever if you don’t want to be left behind.

Fortunately, it’s easier and more convenient than ever to update your skillset with the online course options available now. We hope this has given you a good starting point, and good luck with adding some great new skills to your arsenal.

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