Why Covid-19 means you need to upskill like never before
We may finally be starting to get a glimpse of the new normal, but the coronavirus pandemic is far from over and the future of work remains uncertain. In the current Covid-19 world, job security is in decline and the pressure is on for both employers and employees to adapt skill sets.
More than ever before, now is the time to prioritise upskilling.
Upskilling means undertaking training programs that enable you to become better at your job. Reskilling is the process of learning new skills in order to be able to do a different job.
With so much uncertainty in our midst, being open and proactive about both will help put you in a stronger position when it comes to employability.
Be ready for change
Both now and in the post-Covid-19 work climate, there will be a breadth of short term and long term change. As businesses adapt to economic shifts, social distancing requirements, remote working and a transforming labour market, business leaders and employees must be ready to upskill and embrace new learning opportunities.
Stay relevant and beat the threat of unemployment
With the Bank of England warning that UK unemployment will hit 2.5 million following Covid-19, it’s important to do everything you can to keep ahead of the game and minimise the threat of unemployment.
Part of this is keeping up to date with changes in the way businesses are having to evolve to stay productive during the pandemic and beyond. Taking steps to upskill will help you better understand new business models and the challenges of this unprecedented climate, ensuring you have the skills to tackle them.
The importance of digital skills
Before the pandemic, the move towards automation, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and digitization was well underway, but for many industries, Covid-19 has accelerated the onset of a digital transformation. For example, the NHS has seen years of digital evolution unfold in a matter of months.
The need to respond quickly to Covid-19, sustain the economy and accommodate remote working has meant industries across the board have had to embrace digital technologies and adapt fast.
Having digital learning capability is no longer optional. Workers must communicate, collaborate and remain productive from afar. Business leaders must manage distributed teams and find new ways to motivate and monitor employees.
All this requires up to date technical skills and a commitment to upskilling and lifelong learning.
How to upskill
Whether your upskilling process is self-led or part of your professional development at work, the first step is to conduct a skills analysis. Identify strengths, areas for development and gaps in your experience or training.
Consider how relevant each skill is in the present and how relevant it will be in the new normal of the future. Examine gaps in your skillset in the context of the digitized world of the post-Covid-19 crisis.
Once you have identified key skills for development, explore potential accessible pathways and consider logistics.
You may be working from home and have found you have gained time now that you don’t have to commute. Equally, you may still feel overwhelmed by the increased pressures of childcare and other disruptions brought about by the pandemic. It’s important to set realistic goals and find ways to upskill that don’t negatively impact your work or home life.
Online courses and e-learning are popular ways to upskill because they offer flexibility and allow you to choose how you fit your learning around your life. Many courses don’t have a time restriction for completion. They give participants control over how they move forward with their learning. With the restrictions upon us during and after the pandemic, online courses solve the logistical challenges of traditional, face-to-face training programs, offering convenient, remote access from home. There is a huge wealth of choice in online courses, meaning you can tailor your training to suit your exact learning and development needs.
LinkedIn isn’t just about connecting and networking. It also offers a wide range of high-quality courses that can support you in your quest to upskill. LinkedIn uses its platform data around jobs and skills to identify emerging trends, meaning the courses it offers are up to date and relevant.
Social learning, meaning things like chat boards, online forums, social media groups for specific professions and online interactive learning events, are a more informal way to begin upskilling. They allow members to share knowledge and experience, ask questions and create a community in which they can support and teach each other.
If you’ve lost your job due to the pandemic, taking time to polish existing skills is essential, but you may also be looking at opportunities and routes to reskill. Reskilling can open the door to new roles or new jobs.
With higher numbers of job seekers in the job market, fresh, current training will put you at an advantage. Within the constraints of measures to control the spread of coronavirus, online courses can be an ideal investment.
Whatever your industry or role, investing in upskilling can only be a positive. In 2020 and moving forward, you need to demonstrate a willingness to be flexible, proactive and ready to bolster and develop existing and new skills.
This is the future. In the long term, lifelong learning will become the norm.