Why upskilling your team is a smart investment

Why upskilling your team is a smart investment

What is the difference between upskiling and reskilling? And the applications for each approach? 

Upskilling involves improving and enhancing an employee’s current skills so that they can progress in their chosen work (for example, upskilling a Business Intelligence Consultant in Power BI – it is still core to the BI competency but is a new technology in that field). Upskilling is often easier for the employer and employee as they are upskilling in the same field and it often relates to what they already know. 

Reskilling involves introducing an employee to new skills so that they can do a different job (for example, employing an engineering graduate and training them to be a data scientist).  This can be challenging especially if the employee has worked in the previous role for many years. They have to learn a new discipline from scratch. Key to identifying suitable reskilling candidates is understanding how their current skills set can relate to the new field (for example, the methodical, process driven way of engineering complements the data science discipline). 

When thinking about upskilling, what skills do you think are most important going forward?

Soft skills: Complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people skills, adaptability 

Technical skills: AI, Machine Learning, cyber security, blockchain tech, data science 

In your opinion, when is reskilling necessary?

Reskilling is going to be common practice in the modern workplace where technologies are changing at a rapid pace and automation is replacing mundane work. Routine administrative roles will be replaced by automated management systems, factory workers are already being replaced by automation. 

In a practical sense, reskilling and the ability to identify skills in employees is necessary in cases of optimisation. It is a viable alternative to retrenchment. Rather reskill a person into another role than retrench them. 

How does reskilling help organisation access the right talent? And what are some of the key benefits of reskilling?

In a scarce skills environment employers need to think out of the box and find creative ways to identify talent. Traditionally we would all be fishing in the same small pond for the same talent. This often resulted in salaries being inflated beyond the norm and candidates would eventually out price themselves in the market – ultimately no one is a winner in this type of environment. The clever employers are identifying the key skills required for their scarce skills roles, pinpointing other industries where these skills can be found and recruiting for skills rather than experience. There is substantial investment in reskilling these candidates into a new role but there are some great success stories. 

In South Africa, there is a massive challenge with unemployment in graduates. There are bright young minds out there who cannot find a job in any field. We can use this as an opportunity to take graduates from other disciplines that are not traditionally associated with IT and make a real societal impact. At Altron Karabina we have identified graduates from Mathematical and Statistical studies and are upskilling them in Data Analytics. Thinking out of the box and being prepared to make an investment in reskilling is a win-win situation for employees and employers alike. 

Does reskilling help businesses handle/ manage changes as a result of innovations like AI? 

Without a doubt – reskilling is the way to go. Some of the jobs of the future do not even exist yet so having a reskilling mindset is essential. 

Is reskilling the responsibility of the individual, the IT leader, HR or someone else?

Reskilling is the responsibility of everyone – the individual, the leaders and Human Capital.  The leaders have to have the foresight to identify skills not in their field of work that can be adapted and reskilled into required roles, the individual has to be adaptable and prepared to enter an industry/ role that they did not directly study for and Human Capital have to facilitate the process from a recruitment and learning and development perspective. 

At Altron Karabina, we do not provide standard training that you would expect from a training institution. We deliver training that covers best practice and design, to hands on user training, so that adoption happens quickly and effectively. Invest in your career today, view our training catalogue.

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