Reskilling tips and tools

by Jennifer Harper

When you hear the word ‘re-skill’ your automatic reaction might be ‘I don’t have time to get re-trained’ or ‘I can’t afford to go back to college or university’.

But, stop. What is re-skilling? How does it differ from up-skilling? Essentially, both are preparing yourself for future work.

Re-skilling Vs. Up-skilling - what's the difference?

Re-skilling is using your present experience and advancing this knowledge or re-training in a new role so your skills are relevant for today’s work demands.

Up-skilling may be carried out as part of your current job, or you may choose to do it in your own time, and may involve taking part in a course to update or improve your skills so that you are prepared for the changing needs of your job or the business you work for.

With both reskilling and upskilling, you are:

  • Acknowledging the experience you have,
  • Identifying the transferable skills that you possess, and
  • Adapting and enhancing your skills to become relevant to today’s workplace needs.

When reskilling, often one of the biggest challenges you will face is simply believing in yourself. In order to get to a new destination you often have to ‘see’ yourself there first. If you don’t believe you can do it, the chances are you will subconsciously hold yourself back.

Build belief in yourself

So how do you believe in yourself?

Firstly, what interests you? What sector would you like to work in? if you are trying to identify alternative jobs, it is essential to explore what you would like to do.

Secondly, what skills do employers require? Identifying the skills that are most in need – or that will be needed – means you will be focusing on the most up-to-date and relevant requirements. This may mean gaining a certain qualification, becoming literate in particular IT, or gaining understanding of specific legal policy documents.

Thirdly, what transferable skills do you have? Many of us don’t realise the skills that we already possess – and therefore under-estimate our abilities:

  • Have you managed a team? This does not just mean supervising colleagues, it can include organising volunteers or overseeing the work of a project group.
  • Do you have good communication skills? Communication covers everything from writing and speaking, to listening to and training other people.
  • How is your problem solving? This can include anticipating change, assessing situations quickly, making judgments on the importance of information.
  • Completing your skills inventory on Stay Nimble is a great way to view the skills you have learnt up to this point.

When you break your current or past roles down into individual skills, you are in a better position to see how they are adaptable to fit into future work roles. How you present your skills can make all the difference between making a good job application and a mediocre one.

So how do you meet future employer needs?

While employers want people who will work hard to improve their business, to fulfil the needs of their clients and who will be able to work well with people at all levels within the workplace, they will also have basic essential requirements that employees must possess.

It is these essential requirements that you should set out to gain.

The wonders of technology allow us all to learn at home, doing online courses, distance learning and attending webinars, or you can enrol on courses that require daily or weekly attendance.

  • Stay Nimble’s Learning Hub has a host of free online courses that open the door to reskilling.
  • Colleges and universities have many different options for learning, from full-time, to part-time, block release, evening classes and even weekend and summer schools.
  • Private training providers also offer opportunity to learn online or within learning centres.

If you are unsure what to do, speak to your Career Coach, or talk to the college, university or training provider to find out more about what is required on the courses that interest you. The more information you get, the less daunting re-training or upskilling will be.

Remember, if you believe in yourself, others will be more likely to also believe in your abilities.

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