Upskilling and reskilling

Date: 29/08/2023| Category: Best Practices Glossary|

In today’s rapidly changing job market, the traditional concept of a linear career has become obsolete. Amid increasingly innovative technologies, automation, and changing industry needs, professionals must continually adapt and update their skills to stay ahead.

To work on one’s professional skills, there are the two concepts of upskilling and reskilling. Both highlight the importance of a diverse skillset in the modern workplace and the benefits they bring to individuals and organisations.

​Definition of Upskilling and Reskilling

With Upskilling you intend to broaden your knowledge base and to stay up to date on the latest developments, trends and technologies. Increasing and broadening your skills enhances one’s performance in their current role, potentially advancing them in their career.

Upskilling often results in a higher productivity, builds confidence and secures a competitive edge in a dynamic job market.

Reskilling, on the other hand, involves acquiring a completely new set of skills in order to move to a different professional sector. It is dictated by the need to adapt to changing job requirements. By diversifying their skills, professionals can seize emerging opportunities and deal with career changes more effectively. These skills can sometimes be directed down a completely different path.

The processes of both upskilling and reskilling are similar in how they help employees expand their knowledge, but differ in the nature of the skills learned and the ultimate goal of the learning.

The advantages of upskilling and reskilling within the working world

Upskilling and Reskilling are important to keep professionals up to speed by:

  • Stay up-to-date: Technological advances and industry transformations are redefining job roles. Updating skills allows professionals to adapt to the changing landscape, reducing the risk of job failure.
  • Greater employability: Employers value people who demonstrate a commitment to learning and growing. By continually upgrading, professionals improve their employability and broaden their job prospects.
  • Closing the skills gap: Many industries are facing a significant skills gap, where the demand for certain skills outpaces the available talent pool. Upskilling and reskilling initiatives help bridge this gap, equipping people with the required skills.
  • Increased Confidence and Job Satisfaction: Acquiring new skills leads to increased confidence, job satisfaction, and personal fulfilment. Professionals feel more competent and empowered, which positively affects their performance and general well-being.
  • Drive Renewal: Updating and reskilling foster a culture of innovation within organisations. Employees equipped with up-to-date skills bring new perspectives and ideas, stimulating growth and fostering a culture of continual improvement.

In the wake of the digital revolution, new professions specialising in technologies such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence are flourishing at a pace that the labour market can no longer control. In an attempt to fill this gap, companies offer training to their staff to optimise their performance (upskilling) or to “recycle” them for a different job (reskilling).

Strategies for successfully implementing upskilling and reskilling

There are several strategies to make the best use of upskilling and reskilling:

  • Identify skills gaps: Conduct a self-assessment or work with mentors, managers or career advisers to identify skills for development or areas in which you need to retrain.
  • Set Clear Goals: Establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited goals for upgrading and retraining. This clarity ensures targeted learning and progress tracking.
  • Consult different learning resources: Use a combination of resources such as online courses, webinars, workshops, industry conferences, mentorship programs and professional networks to acquire new knowledge and skills.
  • Rely more on technology: Online learning platforms, educational applications and virtual training tools offer convenient and accessible avenues for updating and retraining. Leverage these technologies to learn when you want and at your own pace.
  • Locate professional certifications: Obtain industry-recognized certifications to validate newly acquired skills. Certifications increase credibility, demonstrate expertise, and can open doors to new opportunities.
  • Apply New Skills: Actively seek opportunities to apply newly acquired skills in real-world scenarios. This could include volunteering, taking on side projects, or finding work assignments that highlight your skills.

Hard skills and soft skills

Both hard and soft skills play a crucial role in professional development, enabling people to adapt to new roles and opportunities.

Hard skills refer to specific technical skills and competencies required for a particular job or industry. These skills are typically measurable and can be acquired through formal education, training programs, or practical experience. Examples of hard skills are programming languages, data analysis, project management.

On the other hand, soft skills encompass a range of interpersonal, communicative and personal qualities that enable individuals to work effectively with others and adapt to different contexts. Soft skills are not specific to a particular role or sector, but are transferable across various contexts. Soft skills refer to emotional intelligence, communication skills, Change Management and other personal and interpersonal skills that help workers grow professionally.

Professional reskilling and upskilling should also focus on developing and refining soft skills, as they are critical to career progression, collaboration and success in any professional setting.

The modern workplace

Upskilling and reskilling is now essential in the modern workplace. The labour market is finding it difficult to keep up with the digital revolution. This means that in the coming years we will find ourselves – and in fact is already happening – with a shortage of professionals capable of filling some posts that require specialized technological skills.

Upskilling and reskilling are no longer optional career choices, but essential components for professional growth and adaptability in today’s fast-paced world. By incorporating continuous learning into our careers, we can be primed to seize new opportunities for the future. Whether it is upskilling to enhance our current roles or reskilling to embark on new career paths, the benefits are immense. It is therefore now imperative that we enter the world of work with a lifelong learning mindset and invest in ourselves to thrive .

QRP International develops professionals and we seek to help professionals during their learning journey. We already have helped thousands of professionals improve their skills. We can help you too! We have a wide range of certifications: find out which one is right for you!

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