The world of work has been flipped upside down due to COVID-19, and with the rise of digital technology - where AI is having a huge influence on the skills needed in most businesses, it's becoming more important than ever to learn new skills. In the UK, a lot of people are finding themselves needing to learn new things to stay in demand in a job market that's always changing, while others are even thinking about switching careers altogether. In this post, we'll talk about the difference between "upskilling" and "reskilling" and how it affects different age groups in the UK.
What is "upskilling"?
"Upskilling" means that you're taking your current skills and trying to make them better. This might mean learning new things, improving your current abilities, or developing new competencies to keep up with the ever-changing demands of your industry. Usually, people focus on upskilling to try and make themselves more valuable to their current employer, to do a better job, or to climb the ladder at work.
In the UK, lots of businesses are desperate for people with the right skills in certain industries. An "Open University" report found that 69% of employers in the UK struggled to find people with the right skills in the past year, with healthcare and IT especially affected.
What is "reskilling"?
"Reskilling" is different to upskilling because it means that you're learning brand new skills to try and make a change in your career. Maybe you're worried that your job might be replaced by a robot soon, or maybe you're just ready for a new challenge. Whatever the reason, reskilling is a way to try something new.
In the UK, we need reskilling more than ever because of COVID-19. According to a "Learning and Work Institute" report, around 9 million jobs are at risk of disappearing due to the pandemic, with people in lower-paying, lower-skilled jobs especially affected.
How do different age groups approach upskilling and reskilling?
Older people might want to focus on upskilling because they're worried about staying competitive in the job market, while younger people might be more interested in reskilling to try something new or make more money. Plus, different age groups might prefer different ways of learning. Older people might like traditional classroom-based learning, while younger people might be happier learning online or through games. However, it's worth noting that everyone is different and might not fit into these categories.
How can employers help with upskilling and reskilling?
Employers can play a big role in helping people learn new skills. For example, they can offer training programs or partnerships with learning providers. They can also encourage people to learn from each other or get involved in mentoring programs. And if they offer flexible working arrangements, it can make it easier for people to learn new things alongside their work.
In a nutshell, learning new skills is becoming more important than ever in the UK job market. Understanding the differences between upskilling and reskilling, and taking into account the unique needs of different age groups, can help employers create training programs that benefit everyone.