Upskilling to stay relevant in the current Canadian job market.

In today's rapidly evolving job market, one proven way to remain relevant and marketable is Upskilling. “Upskilling” is learning a new skill or technology that can help to improve your performance or value in your current or future role.

Education and industry experience are often a minimum requirement for your profession, but upskilling can set you apart in the competition. Whether you're aiming to climb the career ladder, switch industries, or simply remain competitive, upskilling has become more than just a buzzword—it's a strategic necessity if you want to thrive in this dynamic job market. The good news is the pandemic has exponentially increased the availability of online learning options. In this blog, we'll explore the benefits of upskilling, how to decide what course or skill to choose, and upskilling resources, to empower you on your journey toward personal and professional growth.

What are the benefits of upskilling?

You may think that upskilling is only useful when you are looking for a new job or promotion. However, upskilling can help you grow in your current role and gain more confidence in your job functions. Here are six benefits to upskilling:
1) Upskilling to improve your current job shows proactiveness as a professional. It makes you more confident and increases your chances of succeeding in your present role. 
2) Upskilling shows that you are adaptable and can work with the changing expectations of the job market by learning relevant skills & technologies.
3) It makes you more agile and helps you develop a growth mindset that can help you in all areas of life including your health.
4) Learning a new skill or technology can help you move within your organization to a higher paid position or advance to a higher role with more job responsibilities.
5) You become more employable – organizations are looking to fill skill gaps and employ people with advanced technological and soft skill capabilities.
6) Upskilling can hep you differentiate your resume and make you a more competitive candidate within a talent pool.

"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."

How to decide what certification/course to take?

Now that you know what upskilling means and the benefits of upskilling, one key question is how to decide what course or certification is best for your profile. Here are some ideas:

  • Stay abreast of the latest skills and technologies that are in-demand, especially in your domain. The most in-demand skills currently are Generative AI (Artificial Intelligence), sustainability, project management, communication and data skills.
  • Use Google to search for your “field” and “what certification should I get?” Google will suggest a number of skills and resources that match your query.
  • Speak with an industry leader or subject matter expert to get their perspective on what is the future of your profession. Their knowledge of industry trends can help you predict what technology or skill will be most valuable and how you can prepare for it.
  • Consider taking up a course for a general skill that is in demand. For instance, employers are focused on diversity and inclusion, sustainability, communication, digital fluency, AI etc. Choose a course that focuses on one of these business areas.

How to upskill to stay relevant in the current Canadian job market?

1) Upskilling online:

One of the easiest ways to find courses is on the internet. There is a plethora of companies and universities offering free courses or even free trials of paid subscription for a limited time. If you have access to a computer and the internet, you can find an infinite pool of information with courses and certifications for every skill and hobby online.

Sites like Coursera, EDX, LinkedIn Learning or even Google offer courses on a variety of topics. It is important to note that the value of a course isn’t always tied to its price; courses such as Google Analytics are free and are extremely useful for those looking for a career in digital marketing.

Here are some online resources that you can use to upgrade your professional skills:

  1. Coursera
  2. MIT open Courseware
  3. Open Yale Courses
  4. John Hopkins Open Courses
  5. HubSpot Academy
  6. LinkedIn Learning
  7. Shaw Academy

2) Upskilling using local resources:

Local business associations such as chamber of commerce often have low-cost programs for individuals to upskill. Check out your local associations and public library which may have free 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.

3) Upskill on the job

Upskilling can also occur on the job. This can include learning through onboarding procedures, working with your managers and more experienced colleagues to broaden and refine your skill set or, proactively asking to take on extra responsibilities. This can also help you understand other areas of your company. Many companies invest in their LMS (Learning Management System) systems. Check with your organization’s talent development manager or your HR Manager. You might be just a click away from a goldmine of learning! Companies also often offer external courses to their employees that can be beneficial for you.

4) Upskill at a post-secondary institute

When considering upskilling, looking for extra opportunities at your local college or university can be extremely helpful. Most continuing education courses or programs have group projects that can offer you a collaborative environment to learn new skills from your peers and understand better ways of doing the same tasks. In addition, educational institutes often partner with industry leaders like Microsoft, LinkedIn etc., to offer exclusive courses for their students at a discount or sometimes free of fees.

Further, if you are considering a full-time learning option, take advantage of the co-op semester that many post-secondary institutions offer where they partner students with business to gain hands-on experience and upgrade their skills on the job. This is especially beneficial for new professionals to add experience for their resume and references when they graduate.

Upskilling and taking courses are not a substitute to a formal degree or diploma. However, it can be an excellent add on, or an alternate to a degree. In fact, many companies are re-examining the need for degrees in a skills-based workforce. Changing technologies are forcing companies to hire professionals who possess the skills and knowledge necessary to adapt and stay relevant

If you are looking for a career change or a new challenge, reach out to our team of highly skilled recruiting consultants for more information. For nearly half a century, Agilus has served our candidate and employer networks, connecting job seekers with meaningful employment. Every year we place thousands of job seekers in Technology, Office Professional, Engineering, and Trades/Technical roles. With over 100 recruiting consultants across Canada, we can help you find your next role or find that new career path with interview tools and resume support. For more information about Agilus, please follow us on LinkedInFacebookInstagram and Twitter or check out our current open roles.

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