What is upskilling? Put simply, it’s learning a new skill – something that may not be essential, but nonetheless is very useful indeed when it comes to your work and your career. Learning a new language or learning how to use a particular computer program may not seem like very much, perhaps – but it could one day spell the difference between being rejected for a job and being accepted for it.
Upskilling – learning – wasn’t always as easy as it is now. In the past it involved teachers, textbooks, and most likely expenses that the average person didn’t have to spare. Luckily, times have changed. In the Information Age that we’re currently living in, you can upskill without spending any money at all in some cases, or buy resources at drastically reduced prices from what they used to be. Want to learn about culture, media, languages and music? Open Culture is right there, and free. Want to learn the basics about almost anything in the world – historical figures, other countries, how the human body works? Then you only need to turn to the famous Wikipedia. Those are just two examples; there are many, many more. A convincing argument could be made that if you ever want to learn a new skill, all you really have to do is type “How to do X” into Google and you’ll usually have all the learning materials you need. (The tricky part there, however, is filtering out the good resources from the bad ones.) Want to learn how to write a satire essay? No problem!
Good free online resources do sometimes come with a bit of a hidden price, of course. Often the websites make money from ads, which you will have to navigate around unless you install an adblocker. Others will sometimes email you requesting you take out a subscription or donate them some money, which many people find extremely annoying. These are however, remarkably small prices to pay when you consider what you’re getting. With a bit of willpower, dedication and careful pacing, you could learn a whole new skill using nothing but free websites and the apps they provide. Imagine how useful this could be when looking for jobs.
You should, though, probably consider what skill you want to specialise in before going on a spree of searching for and downloading lots of different learning materials for lots of different things. Decide if you want to learn a language, maybe, or learn to code a video game, or edit videos or do quick mathematics – but whatever you do, don’t consider doing all these things at once. That will only lead to a quick burnout and frustration. Sure, you’re getting it for free, but the actual price will be your mental health. Work out what exactly you want to learn a new skill for – work? Self-confidence? To help your kids with their homework? – and go from there.
If you do have money to spare but not a tremendous amount of it, bear in mind that many websites offer learning courses with certificates for cheap – not free, but at a very affordable price. Udemy offers exciting new courses, some of which can be used to train a whole business team together and “enhance employee development. Then, Express Online Training is a website that offers very helpful courses for those wishing to enter a hospitality industry. These websites are very much worth a look.
There is also one big resource of endless learning and upskilling that often goes overlooked – the library! Anything you want to learn how to do, you can usually learn at the library. You may not have visited a library for a long time, but don’t worry, ask the staff there and they’ll be happy to help! And, of course, it’s as free as anything on the Internet.
Upskilling does take work – there’s no denying that – but with the dawn of the Internet, finding the places in which you go to do the work is much, much easier and cheaper than it has ever been before.