How to Use Upskilling to Progress in Your Career
Updated 26 February 2021
COVID-19 has brought an unease across workforces across the UK. If your plans were to secure a promotion in 2020 and now they’re just to maintain your role as redundancies loom, you may be looking for ways to show your value to your employer.
Or you may have found yourself in the unlucky position of unemployment and are not quite sure where to go from here.
Recent statistics show that a higher percentage of people who are employed in managerial, professional and associate professional occupations had participated in training courses, compared to people who were employed in intermediate, routine and manual occupations.
Paul Lewis is the MD at Pitman Training, specializing in delivering career-orientated training for adult learners. Here are his top tips for helping you to choose your training and development route:
How to Upskill in Your Career
1. Know What Your Employers Want
This is incredibly important when choosing a role that will help you to progress in your career.
For example, if you’re looking to go into a role where you’re expected to have exceptional office and secretarial skills, there wouldn’t be much call for you to take a course in marketing.
Seeing as WikiJob readers have many career aspirations, let’s look at some of the main skills employers will be looking for.
On LinkedIn, the top 10 most in-demand skills of 2021 are:
- Business management
- Problem solving
- Data science
- Data storage technologies
- Technical support
- Project management
- Digital literacy
- Employee learning & development
With 722 million members using LinkedIn, this list gives a very good idea of what skills are likely to help you to progress up the career ladder.
So, what training can you access to enhance some of the skills in this top 10 list?
2. Find the Right Course
Getting started is the hardest part of any education journey, so finding a course that suits you is vital.
Many people won’t have studied since school, and there are a plethora of courses on offer out there which can make things daunting.
They can direct you to those courses suited to your preferred career path or they can suggest courses that compliment your current skill set and passions to take you on to a whole new career.
If longer courses seem intimidating, look at whether you can build a program of bite-sized courses to build a portfolio of useful skills.
See if study locations are close by to reduce commuting time or if you can combine a mixture of online and classroom study for more flexibility.
3. Find the Right Support
Are you the type of person who is very self-motivated or do you need the odd push to keep going?
Be truthful with yourself and choose a course delivered by someone that gives you the level of support you need to take your study through to completion.
Even those studying an IT course that is entirely online may need face-to-face guidance when reaching a roadblock.
Some people simply work more effectively in teams, so even being able to link up in a virtual environment to share ideas is important if classrooms are temporarily closed.
For example, at Pitman Training we assign a learning coach who is available to support every student throughout their time with us.
Having the option to study in a center, as well as online, means you can remove yourself from your daily distractions at home, get your head down and work through your course amongst like-minded people.
It’s no surprise that when you surround yourself with people with similar goals and motivations, you’re more likely to succeed in your study and career ambitions.
4. Concentrate on You
Whether you just want to stand out at work or feel more confident in general, upskilling can help you achieve this.
The key thing to understand is that learning is a lifelong endeavor. An employer will notice your efforts and will appreciate your productivity and quality levels rising.
The number of people unhappy at work has actually risen 10% in the past year, according to a survey of 12,000 people by Investors in People.
Being able to complete your work to a higher standard will also translate to feeling happier in your role.
Putting yourself in a position that will make you feel happier and perform better is the first step to a more enjoyable career.
5. Tackle Those Inner Demons
A large number of people feel what is known as ‘imposter syndrome’ when at work.
Imposter syndrome is the feeling of persistent inadequacy. These people suffer from chronic self-doubt and a lack of intellectual capacity.
According to the Guardian, it’s thought that up to 70% of people experience these feelings at some point in their career.
The best way to fix this is to target what frustrates you every day and work at it.
If you struggle with using a certain kind of Microsoft Office program, for example, you can take a simple course and prove yourself entirely capable.
It’s a common misconception that if you’re set on a career path, you don’t need to upskill. But the world of work and all its innovations never stands still, and neither should your learning and development.
Not only does becoming more skilled in your career help you work to a better standard, improve your confidence and affect your feelings of satisfaction, it also makes you stand out from the crowd.
Taking a course can be affordable, flexible and will get you interacting with like-minded people. Technology and jobs are constantly evolving, so you must invest in yourself and evolve too.