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Reskilling vital for your future success

May 20. 2019
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By SPECIAL TO THE NATION

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OUR WORLD is constantly being disrupted. Things change so fast that what you do well and can succeed in today doesn’t necessarily help you tomorrow.

But, as we race to keep up with that change, we may feel an overwhelming pressure. Individuals and organisations alike are striving to push the best ways to develop their own skills, and those of their people, to keep up with our world. 

The dilemma we face, however, is that all the knowledge gained throughout our studies and on the job may or may not be relevant in the next few years. Some knowledge may keep its relevance such as soft skills, but taking a hard hit will be the technical and hard skills that require you to constantly update.

Think about programming back in the 1940s compared with today. Back in the ’40s, we saw the first recognisable electric-powered computer with manually written assembly programming language. Throughout the years, we see ongoing changes in programming language, until today we see Java, C++, Python and many others. It is clear that for us to progress and have better technology, things need to change.

In addition to the changing relevancy of our knowledge, the business landscape – especially the job market – also changes. This means that as technology advances, our jobs may be replaced with artificial intelligence, automation and machines. 

As programmers need to learn new things and reskill, so does everyone else – regardless of job or industry. From manual labourers to office workers, we are never able to tell if we get to keep our jobs or not. With that, it’s safe to say that we need to constantly learn and constantly reskill to be able to keep up.

The changes in our world pose both challenges and opportunities, depending on how we approach them. This is why need to constantly learn and reskill. Now that you’ve understood the importance of reskilling in our world, the next step is to learn how to get started. Below are five ways to begin.

1. Decide what is important to reskill, and set goals. We all have different priorities in life, so take all factors into consideration, such as time, money and accessibility to learning new skills. This can mean different things. For one, it can mean building and updating current skills or building new skills to support your current ones.

Bringing back the programmer example, to expand your skills as a programmer you can learn new programming languages to build on your current skills in order to do better at your job. On the other hand, you can learn and build skills in something beyond programming, such as entrepreneurship, so that you can build your own business. Depending on your goals, you plan out your learning agenda.

2 Mind your own mindset. Mindset is how we view our world around us. It is shaped by our values, beliefs and experiences, but it is one thing that we can change towards sustainable results. The problem we all face is that we want to change our results but do so through behaviour. It works for a while, but because we didn’t put our mind into it, we slowly fall back to our old ways.

For learning and reskilling to be constant, our mindset doesn’t only need to be positive, it also needs to buy into reskilling. We may fail and make mistakes on our journey of learning and reskilling, but it’s our mindset that allows us to push through.

3 Build on both technical and people skills to work towards the goal you have set. Research the skill demands today and the future trends of the workforce. You may already have the necessary skills for those workplace demands, but it is also important to note down what you are missing and need to build on.

4 Don’t spend too much time planning, just begin by doing. If you already have a rough plan, the list of knowledge and skills you need to work on, and the mindset to face all adversities, then the next best thing is to actually start. You’ll never know if you’re heading in the right direction until you actually start learning and work towards reskilling yourself.

5 Make sure you keep yourself flexible. Everything changes constantly. What works today may no longer work tomorrow, so you need to prepare yourself to learn again.

All in all, lifelong learning and reskilling go hand in hand. You can’t reskill without updating and learning the knowledge you need to better yourself. The world will continue to change, and to keep up with those changes and survive in the world we must continue to learn and to reskill ourselves to stay relevant.

ARINYA TALERNGSRI is chief capability officer and managing director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Centre. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa

 

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