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What is upskilling?

Discover what upskilling means, why it is becoming more important and how L&D plays a role in facilitating upskilling.

  • Upskilling is the process of taking the skills and knowledge you have in an area and taking it to the next level. 
  • This is commonly done by participating in training programs, learning from peers and attending workshops and conferences.
  • Upskilling is a great way to advance up the career ladder and earn promotions at work.
  • Upskilling is often confused with reskilling. Whereas upskilling is increasing your skills and expertise in the areas you are currently competent with, reskilling the act of learning new skills on top of your old skills. Upskilling is like levelling up in a video game, whereas reskilling is like trying out a new video game.
  • Facilitating upskilling is a core responsibility of HR and L&D teams, as allowing employees to increase their skills is key to creating a more productive, happier and more skilled workforce.
  • Upskilling is also a core aspect of helping future-proof your business. As digital skills become more and more important, levelling up your workforce's digital skills should be a priority for businesses large and small.
  • A common misconception about upskilling is that it is only relevant for technical or hard skills. People can and should upskill their soft skills like communication, teamwork, problem solving and time management through training and peer-to-peer learning.
  • Upskilling is also great for preventing role fatigue amongst employees who work in roles that can quickly become repetitive. By teaching newer, quicker, and more sophisticated ways of working, the employee and the organisation can benefit from upskilling initiatives.
  • Upskilling initiatives should always be conducted with a clear goal in mind for what constitutes success. When embarking on an upskilling mission, L&D professionals should look into what tangible results they want to see from their newly upskilled teams.

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