New Frontier in Re-Skilling And Upskilling

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New Frontier in Re-Skilling And Upskilling LoadingADD TO FAVORITES

How can we ensure that we and our co-workers cost-effectively acquire the new and better skills needed for success in a rapidly changing world?  A timely assessment from the MIT Sloan Management Review tackles this thorny problem.

In the new world of work, we may not know for sure which jobs will be destroyed and what will be created, but one thing is clear: Everyone, whatever their age, will at some point have to spend time

  • re-skilling which means learning new skills for a new position, or
  • upskilling which means learning current tasks more deeply.

Every conceivable job will have new technologies to learn and new personal relationships to navigate as those roles fit and refit into a changing economic landscape.

Embracing this idea requires a real sense of agency on the part of individuals.  That means each of us needs to be both motivated and prepared to put in the effort toward making learning a lifetime priority.

That’s a good first step, but the personal agency will only go so far.  Individuals’ commitment to keeping up their skills to remain competitive will only work if corporations step up to make it possible.

As Professor Lynda Gratton explains in the Fall 2019 MIT Sloan Management Review, the challenge is that old-style notions of training are far too slow and relatively expensive.  They’re usually classroom-based and instructor-led.  They’re usually focused only on current employees, ignoring potential recruits.

Look around, though, and you’ll see experiments and early pilots underway.  Some companies are figuring out smart ways to engage on this issue — to the advantage of both individuals and the businesses themselves.  Consider three frontier examples that, although different in their approaches, together begin to set the scene for what could become a full-scale transformation.

First, consider Re-skilling in Unexpected Places.

The leadership team at Microsoft has made it a significant business imperative to expand the provision of the company’s cloud services.  Making this a reality has meant building data centers in places like Dublin, Ireland, Boydton, Virginia and Des Moines, Iowa.  The crucial job skills for these new locations are in data center...

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