Rows of white shelves of books at Cornell University Library

Remember when you were young (maybe you are still young!) and thought the world was your oyster and you could be anything you wanted to be? My, how times have changed, haven’t they? Instead, it’s the same old grind; the sweltering, sweaty long commute; umbrella up and into work under a slate-grey sky; clock-watching at 5pm.  

If this sounds like you, you can change your daily grind and your potential in the workplace for the better via upskilling.  

What does upskilling mean?

Upskilling is very much the buzzword of the day, but essentially it means the day-to-day learning of new skills in the workplace to expand your capabilities. You'll either learn completely new skills to complement your skillset or build upon your current skills, upgrading to the next level of qualification. This could involve an online course, volunteering in the community, taking on new challenges in the work place, or even undertaking a degree. 

Why should I upskill?

The working world has changed with jobs for life, promotion based on seniority and doing the same tasks day in and day out a thing of the past. The workplace is more uncertain and more ruthless, with employers demanding more and employees doing more for less and feeling lucky that they’ve even got a job. 

However, this workplace style is inherently more flexible, with more opportunities to change careers and more lateral moves within an organisation. Those who take control of their own destinies and are willing to learn are being seen as major assets by companies and you and I, as employees, are beginning to see that it’s a necessity.  Standing still in your career simply doesn’t work anymore. 

Furthermore, the constant changing role of technology in the workplace means that people’s skills sets are more likely to evolve over time.

For more information about the benefits of upskilling, please see our dedicated page. 

The downsides to upskilling

When thinking about whether you should take the plunge into upskilling, there’s a lot to consider. Depending on how much you want to get involved in, upskilling will mean that sacrifices will have to be made in other areas of your like, for example holiday time and family time. If you are undertaking a degree or something similar, there’s also the financial costs to consider, along with the pressure of exams and essays. 

However, the internet, and the rise in distance learning has made this more possible and easier to fit into your life.

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