What is upskilling vs training? Training, is teaching employees how to perform a task or job. Proving the tools for them to be successful. Upskilling is teaching your employees new skills, skills required for the future. Due to constant technological advancements, current jobs are morphing into something different or disappearing altogether. said, “Upskilling entails learning new skills but it also involves a cultural shift and change management.” This means training employees to fill the gaps created by continuous technological advancements.

There is no end to learning, businesses need to create a culture of lifelong learning.  When I started my career at an Institute of Technology, I had a great mentor who taught me the value of learning-for-life. I was asked to research technology advancements far into the future. Twenty-five years ago, I learned about the terabit storage capacity. A full decade before we saw that technology available on the market.  During this time, I also learned about the zettabyte, electronic file storage capabilities that still have not been developed. I also learned how to build and transfer packets of large digital files and move them across network s without using email attachments.  25 years later we call that the cloud or airdrop.

Upskilling is training employees to develop and expand on their skill sets creating a competitive advantage.  Today and tomorrow’s workforce need to learn new skills and competencies for new and changing jobs. We know that Generation Z will be facing jobs that have not yet been created. Some of the industries currently facing the need to upskill include; manufacturing, health care, and construction.

Employees are no longer satisfied with their jobs if they are not given the opportunities to learn they will leave.  The challenge is how to plan for future jobs that have not yet been dreamed of. It essential that businesses include training and development programs. These programs boost morale and employee satisfaction as well as allow for succession planning.

Upskilling opportunities include:

  • Lunch-and-learn training sessions
    • This is bite-sized learning, learning that can occur in small amounts of time.
    • Earning designations
    • Earning certifications
    • Taking courses
    • Learning business systems with the company
  • Mentoring
  • Virtual Learning
  • Tuition reimbursement or assistance

Reskilling or upskilling your current employees creates a more well-rounded, cross-trained workforce and increase effectiveness and boosts your bottom line.

Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director


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