What is upskilling and reskilling?

15 February 2021

A business upskilling and reskilling older members of staff.

In any business, ensuring that all members of staff are equipped with the necessary skills is crucial. But as changes to technology and legislation naturally take place, employees in certain roles, such as those within the financial services industry for example, may benefit from being given training to update the skills they already possess and gain new skills that would enhance their effectiveness.

In this blog, we look at exactly what upskilling and reskilling are and how these considerations could benefit both employers and employees in finance.

What is upskilling?

A concept that is utilised in many different industries, upskilling is an educational tool businesses and higher education providers use  as a way of enhancing the skill sets of their employees or students. Through undertaking development and training, employees can learn new skills that are relevant to the role they’re in, benefitting their own development and their performance and effectiveness within the company they work for.

What is upskilling of workforce?

For businesses that believe in longevity of staff and wish to avoid a high turnover rate, upskilling is a solution that encourages existing employees to improve in any areas they’re lacking in, in order to fulfil their potential and progress. It also may be preferable for many companies to develop a good employee who is lacking in one area as it is likely cheaper than replacing them with someone who is more rounded.

In the financial services industry, whether it’s changes to legislation or innovative alterations to the general process, things aren’t set to be the same forever. As a result, in this ever-evolving industry, it’s crucial that anyone working in financial services is knowledgeable about the latest developments. Upskilling is a way of ensuring that this is the case, and it benefits businesses and employees equally. For example, offering a mortgage adviser course to a financial adviser will not only mean that they are able to offer more services and are therefore more useful to a business, but it also opens their horizons if they want to specialise in mortgage advising in the future.

What is reskilling?

Although similar to upskilling, reskilling offers different benefits. Instead of facilitating employees to learn new skills or broaden their knowledge within their current role, reskilling is a concept whereby existing employees are trained on a completely different set of skills with the intention of moving them into a different role within the business.

What is the meaning of reskilling of workforce?

Often caused by new technological developments, existing employees may be required to reskill as a way of continuing their current role using technology or to alter their skillset to a totally different position. It may even be the case that technology or changes to company structure have made certain tasks irrelevant. But instead of making the employee redundant, a business can choose to keep the employee, provide them with full training for a new role and use them elsewhere in the business. In some circumstances, reskilling could be caused by an observation made by a business owner over an employee’s potential in another role.

With so many areas in the financial services industry, being open to the possibility of reskilling into different roles via an apprenticeship or a similar form of further education is advisable. Between developing technology, regulation, banking and legislation, changes to financial services come in different forms. It’s crucial that people within this industry are prepared for reskilling as failure to do so could mean redundancy in their current role and falling behind in the financial services industry as a whole.

What drives people to reskill and upskill?

Despite becoming more popular in recent times, reskilling and upskilling are considerations that employees and employers have had to bear in mind throughout history. Regardless of industry, people have had to develop their existing skills and gain new skills as a way of remaining relevant and effective in their role or being impactful in a new role. Under some circumstances, it’s been the difference between keeping their job or having to look elsewhere. As such, many employees have chosen to reskill or upskill as a way of broadening their professional horizons and remaining valuable in their role.

With the working world changing so drastically over the course of a few short months, reskilling and upskilling has also become a crucial method of getting employees up to speed with different skills during the coronavirus pandemic. Many businesses have had to furlough or dismiss multiple members of staff, and with this leaving a gap in terms of certain skills, other employees have had to quickly adapt.

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