Pre-COVID times: Skilling => Learning| Post-COVID times: Upskilling => Earning
COVID-19 has not only turned into a public health issue but has also had a global economic impact. Reduced productivity, loss of life, and business disruption have already had a significant economic impact on the world. As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated changes in the demand for skills and raised the possibility of structural shifts around the world, there is an urgent need for quality training to support a robust economic recovery.
The interaction between humans and digital technologies has been thoroughly recorded in recent decades but it is very evident that our dependency on technology has increased more than ever. There was suddenly a shift from physical mode to a virtual one. Professionals were asked to equip themselves with skills that they had never interacted with. Conferences and meetings in rooms shifted to platforms like Zoom and Google Meet. Every minute we make sure that our mics are on mute, ensuring that the noise from our houses is not audible in meetings. Our attendance markers shifted from a biometric fingerprint system to an excel sheet which we are supposed to fill each day.
Everyone in any sector needs to be upskilled in whatever existing job they are doing as the job itself is revolving at such a rapid pace. In today’s times, people must stay on top of trends to keep moving forward with their careers. Upskilling especially during the pandemic has rapidly increased due to a widening digital skills gap as many employees were not so tech-savvy. Many traditional vocations are transforming into something else or dying entirely as a result of this transition. The process of preparing the workforce to fill these new positions is known as upskilling. It is the process of acquiring new and relevant competencies needed today and shortly.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized the importance of skilling, re-skilling, and upskilling among the country's youth on World Youth Skills Day and the sixth anniversary of the Skill India Mission. According to him, “The mission of skilling, re-skilling and upskilling the youth should continue relentlessly. Making India Aatmanirbhar through upskilling and re-skilling should the core focus.”
Even though employers have done this before by organizing corporate wellness programs, the need for upskilling has grown to a major extent. Also, there has been a noticeable growth in the gap between what employers want or require their employees to be able to perform and what those employees can actually achieve.
As a result, there has never been a more critical time to discuss how to better prepare our people and communities for the new face of work in the future. To assist the millions of newly unemployed in regaining employment, we must provide them with the skills they require to compete in today's rapidly changing workplace.
In the pre-COVID times, skilling yourself comprehends more to your learning. One may develop a skill that is common to all. However, the pandemic and post-it demands will require a certain amount of upgradation to one’s skills. With the pandemic, the need for upskilling has been highlighted. Individuals in all industries must learn to adapt to quickly changing circumstances, and organizations must learn how to match those workers to new roles and activities. Consider a teacher's job. They used a marker or chalk, and a book as their primary tools. However, with the advent of online education, management's expectations have shifted. Employees who know how to use a PowerPoint presentation, create results on excel spreadsheets, and take exams using online forms are preferred. What’s more, they even need to be adept at taking exams online! In other words, individuals with higher technical capabilities are offered more chances.
Emotional upskilling is also required in our daily lives. One cannot deny the fact that work is essential for our survival, but it is crucial for organizations and workers on a personal level to encourage well-being. Workers' wellbeing is a distinct goal in and of itself. The priority here should be given to mental health components like resilience, problem-solving skills, social-emotional skills, and adaptability. This can be majorly done through corporate and employee wellness programs organized by psychologists and counselors who are qualified to help the employees.
Apart from this, due to a major technological jump, one must also upskill themselves by learning new forms of artificial intelligence. This may also help the individual develop a new source of earning. This skill development path also demonstrates how individuals can acquire stackable credentials. One method is to obtain a specialised certification in your field of interest. Individuals can work progressively towards certain occupations or gain certifications that assist their transitions from one opportunity job with more income generation. Certified courses on digital marketing, content writing, graphic designing, or video editing may equip individuals with more relevant skills in today’s times. In the world of start-ups, employers give a preference to candidates with such skills.
Whether you're an experienced professional or just starting out, there are numerous ways to improve your future job outcomes. The most major being, upskilling yourself. While many of us upskill and update our capabilities on the job, proactive upskilling is required to stay ahead of the competition. Successful professionals recognize the value of broadening their knowledge and certifications to advance their careers.
Upskilling the global workforce to close the digital divide is a complicated issue that requires collaboration between business leaders, governments, and educators to make the world a more resilient, capable, and inclusive place. For organizations, upskilling or retraining existing personnel would be a better alternative because the process of employing new people — from sourcing to onboarding — takes a lot of time, effort, and money. It's more realistic to train your current staff to deal with new issues if someone from the company decides to depart. Investing in employee upskilling saves the company's efforts on hiring new associates while also increasing the morale of tenured employees. Individuals and businesses must have a learning-for-life perspective, collaborate with humans and robots, and be open to adopting new ways of doing things to be competitive in the digital age.
Upskilling is not just limited to the youth. Even if you are at the peak of your career, upskilling can help you achieve greater heights. Whenever you start, it is the best time for it. Employee upskilling accomplishes the following: it creates well-equipped, agile teams capable of adapting to, and even leading, change. Upskilling can help you advance your career, keep up with your industry’s pace, increase your employability, and meet your personal objectives. Completing some more training to help close the skill gap is a sensible idea in the current climate. Upskilling may also make you feel more content and self-assured.