The Word – Is upskilling and training needed for career progression?
I believe upskilling and training for career progression has merits, but it will only get you part of the way there. Other more important factors are; a positive attitude, eagerness to learn and grow and an optimistic outlook. Combine these traits with upskilling and training and this will give you the edge over other candidates vying for possible promotions.
The other key aspect that is often lost on many people is that we are all salespeople, every day we need to be selling our business, selling the advantages of our services and products and selling ourselves, it doesn’t matter what your current job is, you need to make every customer or human contact a positive one, you never know when the next opportunity may arise and your future employer may be standing right in front of you.
Go out there, upskill, get more training, learn more, but also, show a willingness to learn more to enable you to earn more.
RD Retha De Villers-Scheepers
University of the Sunshine Coast
Senior lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation management
We live in a knowledge economy, where what you know and what you can contribute in your workplace determine how well your employer does in a globally competitive marketplace. The world of work has changed rapidly in the past 20 years. Job security, promotion based on seniority, and coasting without updating your skills are out. The workplace is uncertain and requires flexible employees who take control of their destinies and are skilled to use new technologies. Employees who don’t update their skills will fall behind and limit their career progression. Upskilling covers the whole gamut of learning, from day-to-day new skills on the job to doing formal courses or degrees. For those who want to get ahead in their careers, this is a no-brainer.
I believe that upskilling and training is essential for career progression, growth and more importantly, career satisfaction. From the employee’s point of view, training and upskilling are vital in maintaining interest and desire to move forward in their chosen profession. If they can see a career progression path from this training, it helps build their motivation to grow, expand and give much needed job satisfaction. Secondly, employee training and upskilling not only provides benefits to the individual, but also to the business. Regular training and upskilling are worth the investment because building up the skills within the business will effectively help grow the business. Training can also compliment a person’s existing skillset to help them grow into the next role. Employees who embrace training acquire a valuable point of difference to make the leap to the next level. I am a strong believer in letting your team grow and flourish, keeping them engaged through training and upskilling and hopefully, end up taking my position.
Crick Auto Group
Co-owner and CEO
For me this is a bit like asking ‘is water is needed for plants to grow’ or ‘is the pope Catholic’?
The answer is, of course. In many areas of society, it is assumed career progression happens through loyalty or longevity, and in practise this does happen – to a certain extent. However, for true and significant career progression, you need to get better at what you do, do more of what you do, or get some new skills. Not everyone wants career progression and there is nothing wrong with that, but my advice to anyone who does is to discuss it with your boss and ask what you need to do to get the progression you are looking for – then decide if you are prepared to do what it takes. The other aspect is to be with a company that is growing, they have more opportunities for career progression, whereas in stagnant companies, you have to wait for someone to retire or leave for a position to open up.
Yes – however, upskilling and training is no longer directed or defined by the employer, it is self-directed by the individual in a very intentional way. The individual now asks, ‘How will I progress the plan I have for my career?’ ‘Who will enable this plan to play out and over what time frame?’ Feeding intelligence and engaging in lifetime learning is an essential part of maximising potential. Building on strengths and leveraging intellectual capital is part of that process. It is an intentional personal journey and may mean a transient experience across a variety of employers and environments. There is a shift away from a cookie cutter career plan developed by an employer, towards a bespoke career plan designed by the individual, in the context of the individual’s whole life plan. The employer must ask, ‘How do we become more relevant to you and your plans AND enable the vision we have for the business to turn up?’ Alignment brings energy, creativity and conviction – all conducive to both personal and business success.
Adrian Ramsay Design House
On-the-job training is essential to create team culture, as well as filling industry-specific knowledge gaps. While each industry has its own genre it doesn’t mean everyone does everything the same way, so on-the-job training brings employees in line with your culture and needs. This is important when interacting with suppliers, other businesses and of course customers. There is a saying by Laurence J. Peter, “Managers rise to the level of their incompetence”, which says there is value in finding your level of incompetence and having the team play under that level, where they are best suited. The only way to break through this scenario is to keep educating, as training – either formally or environmentally, is the only way to take people forward. Although a tertiary education certainly isn’t the be all and end all, often it’s not a good indicator of passion, talent or dedication, although it does show ability to finish projects and deliver a level of quality, which is important.