Ideas for upskilling from home

Thanks to Covid-19, workers across the globe have had to get used to doing their jobs differently. It hasn’t been easy for everyone, but it has led many to reassess their priorities and consider possible new career paths. In fact, research from jobs board Totaljobs in December 2020 showed that more than 8 out of 10 workers were actively looking for new roles. If you’re one of them, now is a good time to identify new skills to help you get where you’d like to go. Read on for some ideas for upskilling from home.

Expanding your skillset

‘Upskilling’ means adding relevant competencies to your existing skillset to help you reach the next step in your career. You might want to sidestep into a related role or change direction entirely.

Firstly, find out which skills you will need for the future you want. Talk to people in the know to find out more. Do you know someone who could act as your mentor or coach? Find out through friends or colleagues if they have any contacts who can spare a bit of time with you over Zoom, phone or email to share some advice about the area you’re interested in. If that’s tricky, try broadening your online network and asking questions on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other forums. Also think about signing up for online lectures and other events (many of which are free) led by people with relevant expertise.

Digital upskilling

With a large portion of the workforce operating remotely, it’s become clear that there’s a particular need to bridge the digital skills gap between employees. If you’re feeling left behind by tech, digital upskilling will help you navigate the world of remote work with more confidence, giving you the same recruitment prospects as others when the time comes to apply for new positions.

Think about the areas where you need some support, for example: virtual meeting and event platforms (Zoom, GotoWebinar, etc), analytics, basic coding, touch typing, social media training, project management software, or something else. Your employer may offer training on digital tools. If not, look up the relevant help content online and give yourself a crash course.

Using company training

If you’re employed, talk to your manager or HR department about the kind of skills you’d like to get and whether there is an existing company e-learning programme you can tap into. Alternatively, there might be a suitable mentor in the form of a coworker, or a training budget to pay for relevant external courses. Any training you get on the job is brilliant, as it can help you in your current role, future roles within the same organisation, and external roles when it’s time to move on.

Accessing independent learning

If there are no relevant upskilling opportunities in your current role, or if you’re between jobs, you’ll need to research further training independently. There are lots of options for distance learning online, through paid for and free courses. LinkedIn Learning has a good suite of materials (free to access for a month), and there are plenty of other providers, such as Coursera and Open University, offering a range of paid and free courses.

Adding skill-building to your schedule

When you’ve chosen your subject area and materials, it’s time to make space in your working week. If you’re new to home working, you could designate a portion of your former commuting time for upskilling. Whether it’s something you do once a week early in the morning, fortnightly in the evening, or daily in your lunch breaks, add dedicated learning slots to your schedule to make sure you fit it in. Decide how long you’re going to spend on each session and set a timer to take breaks, if necessary.

Sharing your new skills

Make sure you add any new certificates or completed course names to your CV and LinkedIn profile. This shows that you’re interested in learning and developing new skills, and may also help you appear in more recruiter searches.

Following your interests

Upskilling doesn’t always have to be career related. You might want to give your brain a lockdown workout by trying a new language, taking up a creative hobby or learning something new as part of a volunteer placement. You’ll find all sorts of ideas for upskilling online to help you broaden your general skills and find out more about something that truly interests you.

Take your next step with Appoint

If you’re ready for a new challenge in 2021, check out our job list and get in touch.


The upskilling crisis & its potential consequences

Are you receiving upskilling opportunities at work? If so, you’re among the minority of UK professionals…

The UK is the nation that’s least likely to provide new training opportunities to its employees, according to PwC research.

  • 51% of UK employees are not offered the chance to retrain or develop new skills.
  • This is well below the global average of 26%.
  • In comparison, only 33% of American employees and 31% of Germans have not been reskilled.
  • The stats are all the more impressive in India and China, where the figures fall to 5% and 3% respectively.

The education gap

There is a disparity between those respondents who have undertaken further education (post-school) and those who haven’t. Graduates receive 15% more training opportunities.

This HR Magazine report reveals many more findings, including the worrying trend to overlook changing digital needs.

Employees clearly crave development opportunities. 54% feel prepared to ‘learn new skills or completely retrain’ to boost their employment potential; this figure rises to 67% among 18 to 34-year-olds.

You can read the PwC report in full via their website.

Warning: a lack of upskilling could lead to a lack of employees!

Over on Recruiting Times, we hear that the desire to learn something new tops the list of career priorities for the nation’s professionals.

  • 44.6% of employees want to develop a new skill
  • This beats the 43.5% who prioritise a pay rise
  • And the 22.7% who long for a new job title

40.1% are prioritising the ‘move to another company’. This group may well also increase in time, as 64.1% say their employer doesn’t respond to their needs and 83.2% intend to find a new job ‘to achieve their dreams’.

This could be of concern to many of the employers who are already facing a skills shortage. However, this may also increase the availability of skilled employees. Employers would certainly be wise to review their recruitment approach. Please call the office on 01225 313130 for some professional support.

We’ve only just shared the stats on the number of people looking to change jobs this month and throughout the coming year. Visit our jobs page for the latest opportunities. You’ll also find a number of skills-related topics linked in this article.

Perks & pay: for employees earning less than £30K.

What’s more important, perks or pay for employees earning less than £30,000 a year? 

If you keep your eye on the jobs news, you’ll spot a common theme. Researchers always want to know more about your working values and how these compare to each other. The perennial question tends to include ‘what matters more to you, your salary or your…!’ (As a case in point, we recently reported on the topic of company culture versus salary level.)

Today’s source specifically explores the parity of the work benefits package and salary for the ‘under £30,000 workforce’.

Perks or pay?

In this instance, the title suggests that they’re ‘just as important’ as each other – and many of the employees surveyed place more weight on other work-life benefits.

  • 45% of respondents are happier when offered learning and development opportunities
  • 36% value flexible working hours, including ‘leniency in start times and/or breaks’
  • 26% already enjoy non-typical work schedules
  • ‘Frequency of pay’ is briefly mentioned as an additional motivator
  • Candidates are also eager to source jobs local to home (27%)

The income issue:

This sample explores the ‘Hidden Heroes’ workforce: those who earn an average salary of £16,403. This comprises employees in multiple sectors and across a variety of working ages.

So, from the above findings, you may think this group just isn’t as reliant on their income. However, many of the respondents express financial concerns.

  • Over 1/3 are ‘unsure or worried’ about covering their general bills
  • While 72% do not think they’d be able to fund ‘a large unexpected’ payment
  • Alongside this, 54% of this employee group report feeling ‘underpaid’
  • Millennials most often relate to feeling ‘overqualified’ (45%) for their roles
  • And the hospitality and catering industries contain the greatest number of workers who feel overqualified (54%)

What this tells us…

Employers looking to attract candidates for openings of this salary level would be smart to explore their wider benefits packages. What else could be offered to motivate and incentivise employees? Small changes could prove invaluable to professionals.

Naturally, extending benefit schemes across the entire workforce helps companies to maintain a competitive advantage.

For further recruitment advice, please call the office on 01225 313130.