Upskilling to stay relevant amid the global pandemic...

If you have been laid off or are working reduced hours due to COVID-19, being stuck at home can feel pretty challenging and demotivating. Whether you are looking for a new job or pausing your professional life, you probably have more time on your hands. Now could be a good time to consider “Upskilling”.   Upskilling is usually discussed when you are looking for a new job or promotion. But during this quarantine, many people are actively upskilling to make themselves more marketable or investing in skills to make them more relevant to their existing job and role.

"By 2030, as many as 375 million workers globally will have to master fresh skills as their current jobs evolve alongside the rise of automation and capable machines, estimates McKinsey Global Institute."

About Upskilling

In simple words, “Upskilling” can be regarded as a developing new skill or learning new technologies that can help to improve your efficiency in your current or future roles. If you are wondering whether it makes sense to spend your time & energy in pursuing a career skill or learning a new technology, career experts believe that ‘now’ is the best time and here’s why:

  • Pursuing a new course or certification shows that you are proactive
  • You can pursue the changed job market with relevant skills & technologies
  • You can look for a new or second career depending on your certification
  • You can expect higher role with more job functions in your present organization with your newly acquired skills
  • You become more employable than before - as organizations across the world are looking to fill skill gaps and employ people with advanced technological and soft skill capabilities.

LinkedIn Learning’s ‘2019 Workplace Learning Report’ has christened 2019 as the year of the skills gap, with a 32 per cent increase year over year in identifying and assessing skills gap.

Where to upskill?

Upskilling no longer means investing a lot of money in expensive certifications and courses. Many training companies and universities are offering free courses during the pandemic. If you are wondering where you can find free online or virtual courses for upskilling, here are some top resources that you can use:

In addition to the resources above, many business associations are also offering low-cost programs for individuals to upskill and it may be the perfect time for you to take advantage of these courses during the pandemic.  You can also check out your local public library which often has fee access to learning tools, eBooks and audio books on how-to subjects. Most public libraries can offer you a virtual library card to access their resources if you aren’t a current patron.

Globally, 4/5 CEOs have identified their employee’s lack of essential skills as a threat to growth.- Talent update 2019 Part of PwC’s 22nd CEO Survey trend series

In addition to the resources above, many business associations are also offering low-cost programs for individuals to upskill and it may be the perfect time for you to take advantage of these courses during the pandemic.  You can also check out your local public library which often has fee access to learning tools, eBooks and audio books on how-to subjects. Most public libraries can offer you a virtual library card to access their resources if you aren’t a current patron.

How to decide what certification/course to take?

It can be difficult to choose which certification is the best for your profile. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can figure that out:

  • Use Google to search for your “field” and “what certification should I get?”
  • Speak with senior business leaders to get recommendations
  • Try to anticipate job demands in future and select a course that can help you stay relevant.
  • You can consider taking up a general skill course that is in demand. For instance, currently, certifications in business fields like data science and risk management are in great demand.

Upskilling is not just relevant if you have lost a job. It can also be beneficial if you are eyeing potential career growth post Covid. Upskilling can also help you build new networks and new socialization opportunities. Challenging your mind and learning a new skill promotes a growth mindset, demonstrates self-motivation and continuous learning – all valuable traits employers are looking for. And if we haven’t convinced you yet, upskilling is a great way to stay mentally healthy and stimulate your brain during these challenging times.