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How to Approach your Employer About Upskilling
By Alan Coheley
July 20, 2021
technological change
young woman researching her training options

Expanding and deepening your skillsets within your expertise is an important part of your career growth and a tool that can help you move up in your company.  And now, more than ever, organizations are recognizing the need to invest in upskilling their workforce. According to PWC’s 22nd  Global CEO Survey, 46% of CEOs see upskilling as a top strategy to close the skills gap.

Employers do not want you to become stagnant in your role and many times they are willing to provide the time and space for you to learn new skills or improve in the ones you already have. Consider these recommendations for the next time you discuss your upskilling options with your manager.

Set Up Learning Goals.

The first step is deciding what you want to get out of your chosen training. Is your goal to add new skills to your resume that can help you do your job more effectively? Maybe you just want to freshen up your current skills and ensure you stay relevant in your field.  Or maybe your goal is centered around gaining the top certifications that will help you and your organization’s growth. (If you are looking for tech certifications, we have some recommendations). Either way, make sure to have your objective established and defined.

Do your research.

Decide what type of training will work best for you to achieve your goals. For some, this might be attending events related to the skills you want to master. While for others, it may be taking an online certification course. Once you’ve decided what and how you want to learn, it’s time to do some research.

This research will help you have an informed conversation with your manager when the time comes. First, research your organization. Ask yourself, how do the skills you want to gain align with your position and how they could benefit your team? Check with your coworkers and managers to see if a similar training has been done and how it was handled.

The second part of your research is understanding the time and cost of your upskilling process. This will probably be the first thing that your manager will ask when discussing your training, so it is important that you outline the options and weigh the pros and cons of each.

young man and woman using a laptop

Present a business case.

When it’s finally time to talk with your manager, take the business approach. Your company will want a return on their investment so you must present a strong case and demonstrate how your education aligns with the organization and how it will reflect in your performance.

Some important things to touch on are how your upskilling process might impact on productivity, your sense of loyalty, and the overall performance of your team. Use all the research you made to address any concerns, including the time that would be spent in upskilling and the different options available.

Be flexible and open.

It is important to keep an open mind when approaching this type of conversation.  Make sure to provide different options and alternatives and be prepared to answer as many questions as possible. Try to remember that sometimes the perspective of your supervisor might be completely different than yours, but at the end of the day, a reasonable employer will take your side and work together to find the best solution for everyone involved.

SkillStorm is here to help.

If your organization is working on their digital transformation strategy and is ready to upskill its workers, we can help. Our programs are designed to make you an expert in the most in-demand technologies in the market. Shoot us an email and an advisor will get in contact with you techcert@skillstorm.com

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