27 Jun 2022

Upskilling VS Reskilling: Know the Difference

Article on - Upskilling VS Reskilling: Know the Difference

Even a cursory foray into training courses and self-improvement schemes will introduce you to the terms “upskilling” and “reskilling”. For the working adult, these two are imperative, but they are not the same thing. Course providers themselves sometimes mix up these terms, using them interchangeably.


However, the truth is that they refer to very different concepts.


Upskilling refers to the process where a worker learns advanced skills for his or her current occupation. An example would be a customer service representative who learns about negotiation skills and how to present himself/herself better. There is no change in their vocation, but they have acquired new skills relevant to their job.


On the other hand, reskilling refers to the process of obtaining new skills for an entirely new occupation. For example, a creative director begins a degree in social work with the aim of switching careers after completing his learning.


Hence, while both equip the learner with new knowledge, their difference lies in the kind of empowerment. Reskilling is about versatility, while upskilling is about specialisation.


Why do you need to be clear about this difference?


Firstly, it gives you a better idea of which direction you want to take. You can define what you need to learn by deciding if you want to gain more skills in your current profession or branch out to something different.


It also clarifies what programmes are available to you under government funding. For example:


The SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme supports mid-career individuals to widen their professional networks and gain new, in-demand skills while preparing for more permanent jobs in the future. Mid-career individuals can embark on industry-relevant attachment programmes lasting up to six months with approved host organisations to gain industry-relevant experience, develop new skills and boost their employability.


On the other hand, Career Conversion Programmes (CCP) are for mid-career individuals to undergo skills conversion and move into new occupations or sectors. WSG offers about 100 CCPs to support mid-career individuals in career conversion. Through CCPs’ industry-recognised training, companies will gain a wider pool of candidates to consider when hiring.


Lastly, a firm grasp on whether you want to upskill or reskill allows you to plan your career moves with greater confidence. For instance, upskilling can generally be accomplished through a short course or training, whereas reskilling may require a greater investment of time and resources into a new set of qualifications to get in the door.


In conclusion, both upskilling and reskilling are essential for those in the workforce today. Clear understanding of these terms and what they bring to your skillset is essential to plan your next move and stay ahead of trends.


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