Upskilling and Re-skilling – Preparing for an Evolved Global Economy

There has been a lot of talk about having a future-ready workforce.

What does that really mean?

Well, as technology evolves, jobs change. So, skills that may have been essential a couple of years ago, may not necessarily be relevant anymore.

Additionally, the pandemic has impacted industries and sectors across the board. Companies have seen their business models evolve – which has widened the gap between the current skills of their workforce and the future needs of their business.

In Canada, within the first two months of the pandemic, over three million jobs were lost.

While many jobs will return once the economy bounces back, others may not as marketplaces are shifting and workplace roles are evolving.

To ensure that the workforce has relevant skills for the post-pandemic era, reskilling and upskilling are essential.

Reskilling and upskilling – what’s the difference?

Upskilling simply means providing additional training and development opportunities to someone to help them become better at a job they already perform.

Reskilling, on the other hand, happens when you help someone develop new or additional skills. This is generally done to help prepare them for new roles.

Why is this an important consideration? 

Investment in training and development is crucial because:

I. COVID-19 has essentially changed consumer behaviour. As consumer preferences evolve, so does their demand for goods and services. For instance, an increase in online shopping means that an apparel retailer may have to reallocate resources towards areas such as digital marketing and order fulfilment.

II. The pandemic has impacted supply chains both regionally and globally. This has made many companies review and restructure their supply chains.

III. Reliance on technology has increased. Be it eCommerce or remote work, where possible, organizations have gone digital. This change has led to the creation of a number of new roles but has also eliminated some older ones.

IV. Manufacturing is evolving. With smart factories and industry 4.0 technologies, factory floors won’t look the same in the near future. Employees will need to acquire new skills to enable the organizations to take advantage of these technologies.

The upskilling and reskilling process goes beyond individual companies…

There is a need to re-engage, retrain and redeploy talent.

While companies are playing their part, the government and other institutions also have a pivotal role in this process.

The Canadian government has allocated $1.5 billion to provide job-training support to Canadians in industries hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, The University of Toronto and Palette Inc., a national non-profit organization, have formed a partnership to help Canadian workers get access to the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in a rapidly changing economy. The focus of this partnership is on upskilling displaced workers.

What’s the way forward?

Organizations cannot be resilient if their workforce isn’t.

The first step towards ensuring that your business stays competitive in an evolved economy is focusing on your employees and addressing their questions or concerns.

To make your workforce future-ready, you have to analyze their transferable skills and identify areas of growth. You will also have to re-evaluate existing training programs and create learning pathways that focus on the skills of tomorrow.

At SHEA Global, we are committed to helping you make the shift and create a broad strategy that can enable you and your employees to embark on a successful upskilling and reskilling journey.