Recent critical data has shown that here in the North we are recovering admirably – in employment terms – from the dire effects of the pandemic, even if we’re still home to some of the dreaded hotspots.

We’re ahead of everywhere else in so many ways. However, a problem was brewing before the pandemic even arose, and that’s now coming home to roost.

The data has shown that workers simply aren’t dynamically skilled enough. There are gaps abounding all over the place and this is causing growing difficulties for businesses.

This is a brilliant opportunity for workers and businesses alike. For workers, their ability to embrace new skill acquisition will enable them to stand out from the crowd, propel their career, and gather employment security in a turbulent time. For employers, they will fill their skills gaps ahead of their competition, driving success, and bolstering resilience for the future.

But, as with any recession, employers can be a little reluctant to invest in training. It can feel like it’s not a burning need, and something that can wait, so how can you convince your employer (or even would-be employer) that you’re worth the investment to upskill and reskill now?

Know what’s in it for you and your employer

Before you take your reskilling and upskilling hopes and dreams to your employer, you need to be sure of two things: what’s in it for you, but also, what’s in it for them. This will form the foundation of being able to convince them of the benefits.

For you, the benefits of gaining new and deeper skills are obvious. It opens out the number of opportunities available to you – both with your current employer and with your longer term career. It can also make your day-to-day working life more pleasant and rewarding.

For your employer, upskilling and reskilling helps them to develop an efficient and productive workforce, whereby they are ahead of the competition, and they can retain and motivate top talent.

They are more dextrous and resilient for future business changes and can take advantage of new opportunities. At the end of the day, recruitment can be expensive. By upskilling and reskilling, they get to keep skills in-house and not lose their best people. It directly impacts their bottom line.

For hiring managers, upskilling and reskilling existing staff, or strong-potential candidates, gives them more choice and greater chance of success.

Think strategically about what’s needed

With good understanding of your base argument for developing your skills, it’s then important to think about what type development is going to serve you and your employer best. With training, it’s easy to get sucked into well-advertised courses that are easy to access – especially when we’re all still under the auspices of Covid restrictions for a while yet! However, it’s best to think clearly about what skills you really need to develop.

Primarily, we strongly recommend you consider a flexible skillset. Flexible skills ensure that you continue developing outside of the training room. These skills are often soft skills and are what are called ‘transferrable’. You can apply them in different situations. It’s these skills which will truly benefit you and your employer.

The trick is to think about what your employer really needs and then go after it. Prove that you are the one that’s capable of plugging that skills gap for them.

What if your employer still doesn’t get on board?

Many employers may still be reeling from the effects of the pandemic and, despite it being a good investment, simply don’t want to spend money on training at the moment. If you’re in this situation, it’s still in your interests to invest in your own development. You can then use those skills to excel within your role, within the organisation, or to propel your career elsewhere. Investment in your own reskilling and upskilling will never be wasted.