By Chris Raybould
As seen on Business Insider.
Chris Raybould is the Managing Director of PeoplesFuture Ltd, a subsidiary of Coventry University which helps to prepare students for the world of work. He explains why it’s important for new and imminent arrivals to the job market to be as skilled as possible — to boost their own career prospects and to ensure the continued growth of their prospective employers.
Recent analysis of the labour market has shown that a higher number of graduates have retained their jobs during the pandemic than those of a similar demographic who do not have a degree.
This statistic underpins the importance of equipping the next pool of talent being produced by the UK’s universities and other higher education institutions with the ‘soft skills’ that can complement their academic knowledge in order for them to succeed in the workplace. This is known as upskilling.
What is upskilling?
Upskilling is a process that can give employees a head start by providing them with vital knowledge and insights into today’s working environment.
For example, my team at PeoplesFuture is supporting the high-calibre new talent from Coventry University into the jobs market by focussing on helping students with individual advice, CV support and guidance, mentoring and a whole array of soft skill coaching and skill support. That includes elements such as sharing cultural knowledge from different countries and also providing Internships and Graduate placement opportunities, both in the UK and internationally.
Our role provides real-life experience and real-time knowledge and guidance so that the students can gain valuable insights into their chosen path, or in some cases, help them decide which route is best.
Why is upskilling important?
For graduates, the combination of academic knowledge and upskilling ensures they can gain a better understanding of what’s ahead and to boost their confidence in applying the knowledge gained in academic studies with real business needs. The jobs and careers of today are changing at a pace, so it’s never been more important to consider the needs of today with jobs of tomorrow, too.
The soft skills associated with attitude and behaviour also play a part, as more time invested in these areas will enhance the pragmatic delivery of course and subject knowledge. Potential employers are looking for a combination of these skills as they need people who can adapt to an agile environment.
For employers, it’s key to the growth and continued transformation of their business to be able to identify that a prospective employee not only has a theoretical approach to their chosen subject, but can apply what they have learned.
What are the benefits of upskilling?
Versatile and agile skills, alongside personal development, will ensure a sustainable career which benefits the individual’s progression, whilst the employer will also profit from the retention of the most adaptable individuals, allowing them to plan ahead strategically.
All industries and sectors are experiencing a fast pace of change, where some skills are becoming obsolete. Therefore, individuals who can demonstrate an ability to learn pragmatic new skills, as well as soft skills, will become entrusted with the organisation’s growth.
Students and individuals who have international mobility experience are in greater demand as their social development enables them to become a more well-rounded worker. There is also evidence that the lifetime earnings of these individuals tend to be greater than those who do not have this experience.
A survey earlier this year revealed that 87 per cent of executives are experiencing skill gaps in their workforce, or expect to be within a few years, but less than half have a clear sense of how to address the problem.
At PeoplesFuture, we’re doing more and more work with businesses to help map their talent strategies to see how we can provide the talent that they need now, and in the future, through things like apprenticeships and course content.
Most businesses have ambitious growth plans. To achieve the results, they must continually invest in their workforce, while at the same time attracting new talents who are suitably prepared for the modern changing workplace and, therefore, able to help them achieve the growth.
This combination will prove to be a great investment and is the foundation of most of the recognisable brands and companies that we all recognise as successful in the marketplace.
Find out how PeoplesFuture Ltd can help to shape your future workforce by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.