Why You Need to Upskill

Written by Jacqui Coombe

The world is constantly changing with new technologies, new ways to work and new businesses. Whilst in the past, workers were often committed to their particular job or employer, it is now common to have what is known as a ‘portfolio career’ – incorporating many jobs across different fields, acquiring different skill sets, and combining freelance, contract and permanent work.

Upskilling has many benefits, one of which is staying up-to-date with your industry to ensure you can do your job to the best of your abilities.

Whether you’re thinking of changing careers, starting a side-hustle, want to educate yourself or raise your employability, upskilling could be the answer.

What does upskilling mean?

Upskilling essentially means gaining new skills, whether it is self-taught or through an official course. Upskilling can benefit both you and your employer because it can boost productivity, bring new talents to the table and improve your confidence. 

Upskilling may also provide an opportunity to change careers. New courses will help to prepare you for the move, enhance your current skill set and provide new expertise to ensure you are qualified.

Additionally, because of the rapidly-changing technological world we live in, employees are expected to adapt. It is vital to stay informed of the latest trends.

Upskilling opportunities

Once you have made the commitment to upskill, it’s important to understand how your industry is changing and what skills you will need to stay ahead of the curve. Look at research trends, see what industry experts are saying, and speak to your employer about what skills they want to see in their staff.

Take a good look at your current strengths, weaknesses and current skill set, and then figure out what you need to do to make it all happen. This may include short-term courses, self-upskilling techniques or volunteering. There are many formal qualifications which lend themselves to a variety of professions. For example, you could use skills acquired from a journalism degree to work in just about any industry, from copywriting to business or even politics. 

Volunteering presents an upskilling opportunity as you can volunteer in any kind of organisation and learn new skills, while also helping others. 

Upskilling yourself

There are plenty of ways to upskill yourself. This may include online training, reading free resources, finding a mentor to guide you, connecting with people on LinkedIn, listening to podcasts or watching TED Talks.

There are also ways to hone your soft skills such as leadership, stress management and creativity. Consider what leadership training options your employer offers, or have a chat  with people from other departments to see how you can work together better.

What’s most important when upskilling yourself is that you work in a way that’s best for you.  It’s not always necessary to pay for courses to upskill yourself. There are so many high-quality free courses online taught by some of the best and brightest in particular  industries.

Formal coursework

Don’t be afraid to enrol in short-term training or even a new degree. There are lots of free or low-cost options.

Alternatively, you can partake in some vocational training, providing more hands-on practical experience in your field. 

Stepping outside your comfort zone

When you’re too comfortable in your job, it could be a sign that it’s time to upskill.

More and more people are upskilling to protect their future. While it can help in your current role, it also shows you are willing to learn and grow.  Upskilling is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to ensuring you are well-equipped for changes in your career.

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About the author


Jacqui Coombe

Jacqueline Coombe is Head of SEO + Content Marketing at Australian digital growth consultancy Webprofits. Jacqueline has been a prolific reader since childhood, and now channels her love of the written word into writing content using her expertise in marketing, business development, and team management.