With a changing work environment, impacted by advancements in technology and a pandemic that has influenced work patterns and job losses, some persons in the workforce have been forced to adapt by upgrading or learning new skills.
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020 states that because of the growing uptake of technology and automation, half of all employees will need reskilling by 2025.
That’s why Tremain Ellis, Acting Learning and Development Manager for the JN Group, says learning a new skill or upskilling is beneficial to both employers and employees.
“It has become essential to continually upgrade one’s skills to stay relevant, competitive, and employable,” he pointed out.
He underscored that learning a new skill is essential to advancing one’s career, as individuals with up-to-date skills are highly sought after by employers, giving them a competitive edge in the job market.
However, upskilling or reskilling is not just about finding a new job. When employees have access to training and development opportunities, they bring new ideas and perspectives to the organisation, leading to more innovative and efficient practices.
“Just as how we invest in new technology, we should invest in our people. It makes no sense we have the latest technology and our people cannot make the best use of them,” he said.
Mr. Ellis recommends that both companies and individuals conduct a skills audit to identify any gaps.
“The first step is to ask yourself what skills do I need to remain relevant or to be better at what I do? Do I currently have those skills? If not, how do I acquire those skills?,“ he suggests.
The Learning and Development Manager for the JN Group noted that whether persons are self-employed or work for someone, it is important that they are continuously looking for ways to improve. He added that the world has become smaller due to globalisation so the competition is no longer just the person sitting beside you but also someone who is half way across the world.
He informed that after that after it is determined what skills are needed, it is time to do something about it. Acquiring new skills is much easier, more cost effective and convenient in the age of technology, he said.
“Gone are the days when upskilling means you have to register for a programme at a training institution and sit in classes from 8:00AM to 4:00PM Monday to Friday. Many training institutions offer self-paced learning, where you decide how long you take to complete and even set your own schedule. Additionally, there are hundreds of free online certificate courses from some of the top universities in the world,” he disclosed noting that other websites such as Udemy, Coursera, Khan Academy offer online self-paced courses for free or at very low cost.
“Majority of us have smart phones, so I want to put it out there that we dedicate five hours per week to learning a new skill. Many of us spend more than that time just sitting in traffic, so we can download an audio book to listen whilst driving,” he said.
Mr Ellis stated that YouTube is also an amazing place to learn and that persons could spend one less hour each day watching funny videos and dedicated that time to do their own upskilling.
“Learning is now at our finger tips. We must see upskilling as an investment in ourselves, our companies and the future of our country,” he said.