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How to retrain or upskill

Upskilling or retraining is important for candidates wanting to stand out in a crowded job market. Here are some opportunities to look for: 

Ask for new and challenging opportunities within the workplace. 

Take on projects outside your usual remit. This is definitely  a great way to develop new and additional competencies. If working on a project with people from other departments or areas of the business, you will also become more experienced whilst understanding the importance of problem-solving and collaboration. To find an opportunity within your organisation, start a conversation with your line, training or HR manager. Managers are often key to having your name put forward to becoming part of a project. Alternatively, be proactive and identify an area where your company could benefit from focused attention and what you could do to contribute or kickstart an opportunity.

Stay in touch with your industry and discipline.  

Follow industry leaders and influencers on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, YouTube, FaceBook, Instagram, Ted Talks and Twitter. Ask your peers/colleagues for recommendations. Keep your profile up to date. Network at appropriate industry or role related online events, these are a  great way to keeping your finger on the pulse. Get involved, be enthusiastic.

Join an industry or professional group. 

Membership to a professional/ industry related group or association can also tick lots of boxes for enhancing your skills, as well as career building. If you join a group or relevant association, ask about CPD (Continuous Professional Development) as well as their specific networking events and mentoring programs. Many associations will offer reduced joining costs for individuals just starting out within a profession and/or industry. Ask your peers for a recommendation, don’t be shy!

Find relevant courses outside of the workplace. 

Formal courses are used as a way to acquire knowledge whilst enhancing your existing skills. Give due consideration to short courses such as specialised certificates which are aligned closely to developing trends in your specific industry or sector. There is a wealth of tutorials on how to use technology and software applications available online, take time to research what is available to you, do your homework.

Learn while on the job. 

Check out free, self-learning modules that may be offered by your organisation. These courses generally reflect the skills a business may want its workforce to develop,  so acquiring skills and knowledge this way is not only free, but also could raise your standing within the workplace. Ask a colleague to teach you a skill you want to acquire or set up a study group with colleagues. Peer-group learning allows employees to learn from each other, whilst exploring relevant issues together.  If you can generate enough interest amongst colleagues you could also suggest to your manager that a learning session be organised featuring a senior member of staff or that an industry leader be invited in for a lunch and learn session.

Employer supported external study. 

If you want your employer to pay for specialist courses, explain what you will learn and how it will benefit your team and ultimately the company. This could bring new skills within your organisation as well as helping to upskill your colleagues. Pitch it right, make sure your employer sees it as a benefit to their business, whilst adding value to the bigger picture.