Upskilling at work
Author: Samson Date Posted:9 August 2016
Upskilling is one of the most important yet regularly ignored and least understood opportunities in the workplace. It can enhance everything from the job you are currently doing to the employment opportunities that become available to you.
In order to understand what it is all about, it is worth first looking at why it is so important, how you can laterally upskill within the workplace and the opportunities available outside of the workplace that can benefit you.
Skill up - value up.
The idea of upskilling is to add to and improve upon your existing skillset, whether this is through training, on the job experience or further tertiary/professional education. The benefits to be found in upskilling is immense with the most obvious and immediate one being an increase in your value to your workplace. If you can do more than what is specified in your role requirements, you are likely become a more valuable member of the team, positioning yourself for greater rewards in both compensation and career advancement. At the same time, by upskilling, you are exposing yourself to different career opportunities and industries, opening up doors that you may have not known were available or even appealing to you. Clearly there are significant benefits to upskilling, but in order to do so you need to understand how to do it.
Skill up - speak up.
The workplace is one of the best places for upskilling as not only are there many opportunities already available to you but there is also a higher chance of receiving recognition for your efforts. One of the most important ways to do this is through lateral upskilling, which is adding new skills and abilities that are not directly connected to your existing role. You can do this through a number of different ways including taking on additional responsibility in an area that isn’t traditionally your own, thereby providing both the opportunity to gain experience as well as providing the opportunity to see if this is an area that you would consider shifting into. Additionally, you can also seek to upskill by consulting with your managers to see if you can join training and other educational programs for employees, whether within yours or in a different area.
Skill up - step up.
Upskilling isn’t just about learning through workplace experiences, it is also a matter of seeking further education, whether through a structured accreditation or through informal online education just to name a few examples. By studying to receive a postgraduate or professional degree/accreditation, you are increasing your value as both an asset to your organisation as well as improving your opportunities for career promotion and success. It is for this reason that companies are often open to sponsoring employee accreditations as a better skilled workforce benefits them too. Further, upskilling isn’t just a matter of going to university, it can also be done through reading and studying on your own time or as part of an allocated portion of the working week. Examples include online courses on websites such as Coursera or through reading and teaching yourself using available guides and textbooks. These options are relatively inexpensive and can provide benefits that you otherwise may not have been able to gain in the workplace.
Upskilling is truly an important and worthwhile pursuit that all employees should seek out. Not only does it benefit you in your currently employment but it can open doors that otherwise wouldn’t have been open to you. It is well worth putting in the time to make yourself the best you can be.