The Benefits of Upskilling – Both Inside and Outside of Work


The Benefits of Upskilling – Both Inside and Outside of Work


If you were to scroll through a Tumblr dashboard anytime in 2012, you will have seen the (paraphrased) Oscar Wilde quote: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” I live out the former ‘over’ most days of my life – but I’m yet to take the latter seriously. However, with Hays saying that 77% of employers are likely to shortlist a candidate who has regularly upskilled, it’s time to implement the latter – and be just as overeducated for each event as I am overdressed.


What is upskilling?

Upskilling is defined as “the process of learning new skills or teaching workers new skills.” Mainly used in the workplace, it’s essentially when employers invest time, energy and money into training their employees to be up-to-date with changing technologies, software, markets, needs and more. It may come in the form of an additional training course done outside of work (paid for by the company) or involve a professional external company coming in for a training session or lecture.


Why should we invest in upskilling?

The benefits upskilling brings to a company are numerous – but at the end of the day, it more cost efficient for a company to train a current employee than it does to hire a new one entirely. A Huffington Post article estimated that it can cost a company between $15,000 – $25,000 to lose a millennial employee – and that’s not including the additional money the company will have to spend interviewing, hiring and training an employee to replace the one that left.


Deloitte found that 86% of respondents of their global survey rated the need to improve learning and development as important and very important, and in The Independent published figures stating that two out of three employees change jobs because of a lack of training and development.


So, we can very much see how upskilling benefits your company – but how does it benefit you?


LinkedIn conducted a survey finding that employees who spend their time at work learning are 47% less likely to be stressed, 39% more likely to feel productive and successful, 23% are more ready to take on additional responsibilities, and 21% are more likely to feel confident and happy.


How to upskill

Hopefully your work already has policies in place for upskilling employees – if not, show them this article and get them on it, pronto!


However, there are still ways to upskill yourself outside of work hours. These include reading articles and books, listening to podcasts, watching TED Talks and documentaries – just to name a few. If you’re looking for a way to upskill that’s a bit more tangible, however (read: you can add it to your resume and LinkedIn)  there are so many online courses available.


If you’ve got the money to pay for an additional qualification (and you’re willing to part with it), Business of Fashion offers several great courses – all to help you further your fashion career. I’m currently undertaking ‘Fashion History for Today’, and acclaimed fashion writer Colin McDowell MBE is the online tutor. There are also courses on Digital Marketing, the Art and Science of Buying and Merchandising – and several others.


If you have access to Fashion Monitor through your job, they currently have an Influencer Marketing and Digital PR course, comprising of 10 modules. 


Looking for something that isn’t necessarily fashion focused? FutureLearn has your back. They’ve got courses about building your own business, defensive programming and debugging and even one about maintaining a mindful life. The great thing about them is they’re all short courses, they only take up a few hours a week – and they’re completely free! If you’d like a certificate of achievement you can pay (mine was £32), but other than that, it’s not necessary.


LinkedIn Learning offers certificates for all completed courses, over which there are hundreds, and they can be completed in an hour or two. Coursera and not only offers online courses with certificates but degrees also (if you’ve got that type of time and money to spare) gathered from universities around the world.  


OpenLearn is a similar concept, except that it rates degrees in terms of difficulty (introductory, intermediate, advanced) and tells you how many hours it takes to complete it.


Whether it’s in your workplace or in your free time, there are so many benefits to upskilling. And as Earl Nightingale said: “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish. The time will pass anyway.” So, make some time to learn, and to upskill.


Words by Kate Edwina


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