Employees who seek workplaces that promote opportunities for upskilling are better equipped to adapt and contribute to their organisation’s success. In this article, we will explore the significance of learning on the job, and the concept of upskilling, and provide actionable insights on how to upskill in your career while balancing your day-to-day responsibilities.
Why Learning on the Job Is So Important
Professional growth and development are essential opportunities to have during your working life. Not only does it allow you to acquire new skills, but it also allows you to stay relevant in a fast-evolving job market. Here are a few reasons why learning on the job is absolutely crucial.
Adaptability: Being able to adapt to new technologies, methodologies and market trends is an invaluable skill to have, now more than ever. Learning on the job will ensure that you never feel left behind in the modern world.
Career Advancement: As well as staying up to date with market trends and responsibilities within your current role, upskilling can help to open doors for career advancement. Not only will you pick up new skills, but it also shows employers that you’re capable of accepting new challenges and responsibilities.
Job Satisfaction: Your motivation in your job is less likely to stagnate if you commit to learning on the job. By acquiring new skills in your job, you can keep work engaging and exciting.
Marketability: One of the ways you can increase your job security is through upskilling. As you pick up new skills, you become more marketable to employers, both current and potential.
What Is Upskilling?
Upskilling is the continued process of acquiring, or improving, skills to enhance your career prospects and employability. Even though you will pick up skills whenever you start a new job, upskilling is a deliberate act of improvement that goes beyond initial job training. Even though employers can encourage upskilling, you don’t have to wait for your boss to give the go-ahead. You can take the bull by the horns and even put a proposal together if there’s a cost involved in your training.
How to Upskill in Your Career
Identify Your Goals and Knowledge Gaps: Identifying the gaps in your knowledge and skills should be your first step before you decide to embark on your upskilling journey. Through research, you can identify these gaps and decide where to focus your training.
Approach Your Manager: Once you’ve identified the gaps in your knowledge, communicate your wish to upskill to your manager. Be prepared to explain how your newly acquired skills would not only benefit you but the wider company and its goals. Select a company objective and highlight how a particular course or seminar might help to achieve that.
Utilise Work Time: It’s not only courses and seminars that contribute to upskilling, but you can also upskill by taking on different responsibilities at work. Skills such as leadership and project management can be acquired by planning a charity event which can have crossovers with exciting, new career prospects. Collaborating with other colleagues on projects like this will also expose you to skills you didn’t know you were missing.
Training Opportunities: If you’re looking to upskill, you should make yourself familiar with opportunities that exist within your organisation. Lots of workplaces offer in-house training, as well as access to training and seminars that might be a quick and easy way of upskilling.
Self-Directed Learning: Upskilling is most effective when it happens in both the workplace and beyond. Reading relevant books and articles and attending physical or virtual conferences can help broaden your knowledge of your industry beyond your current workplace.
Mentorship: Reaching out to colleagues or experienced professionals within your network can be a valuable asset in identifying where to focus your energy. They might be able to point out skills that are no longer relevant in today’s world or up-and-coming skills that will allow you to get ahead of the curve.
Feedback and Evaluation: Taking a step back to assess your progress is a great way to determine how useful your current plan is to you and your professional development. You should seek feedback from colleagues, managers, and the aforementioned mentors you might have met.
Balancing Learning on the Job with Your Day-to-Day Role
It is a skill in itself to balance learning as well as your current responsibilities. Below you’ll find out how you can best juggle this task.
Time Management: Efficiently managing your time to accommodate both your daily job requirements and upskilling efforts can be done by setting aside a couple of hours throughout the week dedicated to upskilling.
Set Priorities: Despite the importance and benefits of upskilling, you should prioritise the tasks that exist as part of your employment based on their importance and deadlines. To avoid added workplace stress, make sure that your job isn’t compromised in pursuit of upskilling.
Communication: Transparent communication is important when taking on responsibilities outside of your job role. Keep your manager and team informed about your learning objectives and how they may impact your work – although you should try to keep disruption to a minimum.
Self-motivation: As with any new endeavour, it can be easy to give up early on. Remind yourself of the long-term benefits of upskilling and how it will only serve to improve your personal and professional growth.
In conclusion, upskilling is a vital aspect of career development in a fast-paced world. By identifying your goals, approaching your manager, and utilising various resources, you can upskill effectively. Balancing these efforts with your day-to-day responsibilities requires careful planning and discipline, but if you can master this balancing act, you will be rewarded multiple times over in terms of personal and professional development.
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