What is Upskilling and Why Should Your Company Do it?

Coburg Banks
4 min readJun 16, 2021

“Upskilling” isn’t just a buzzword, it’s going to continue playing a key role in remedying the UK skills shortage for years to come.

In a fascinating report published by City & Guilds Group, it’s believed that only 46% of British workers are getting enough help and support from their employer to develop the workplace skills they’ll need in the future.

The chief executive of City & Guilds Group, Chris Jones, says:

“As working lives get longer and the age of the workforce increases, now is the time for employers to prioritise upskilling and reskilling people at all ages and stages within their current workforce and to recognise the value and potential of every employee.

However, our data clearly shows that people aren’t receiving enough employer support to develop the skills they need today, let alone those they may need over the next five years.”

The idea of upskilling is becoming a major factor in whether a candidate accepts a job or not and if an employee sticks with your company in the long-run.

It not only helps the professional by enabling them to reach their potential, but it also benefits your business too.

To help illustrate why your company should be upskilling, here’s everything you need to know.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling is where an under-qualified employee is given training and development opportunities to grow into a role — whether it’s in another department, industry or a more senior role.

The concept of upskilling is similar to training, however, the development process is different.

Upskilling is an ongoing drive to help employees develop the skills they want.

It’s also a commitment to enable employees to discover new talents and encourage them to offer more to a business.

Acquiring new skills outside of their regular job role will allow them to complete work, both inside and outside of their field, to a higher standard.

As a business, it’s your job to create a positive learning environment in which they thrive.

What are the benefits of upskilling?

There are several reasons why upskilling is a smart move for businesses.

By making small changes in your training programmes, you can successfully help your employees develop new abilities and minimise the growing skills gaps.

Here are a few reasons why the time is now for your business to make a conscious decision to implement upskilling processes.

Minimise recruitment costs

As you’re probably aware of, hiring a new employee isn’t cheap.

From paying for the best job boards and agencies to wasting resources and losing out on valuable workload, the list is endless.

However, when you choose to upskill, you only have to think about your training programme — which is a lot cheaper than recruiting every few weeks!

Once you have certain programmes and resources in place, your business’ costs will remain relatively low.

What’s more, it’s free to actively encourage employees to learn more.

You just need to know how to successfully manage a team.

Happy employees

Employee satisfaction is integral to every business’ success.

If your team are unhappy, you’re more likely to see a higher staff turnover and poorer productivity rates.

The beauty of upskilling is that it makes employees feel valued and motivated.

They’re more likely to be invested in your brand and will go out of their way to deliver better results for the good of your business.

Upskilling also enables workers to think outside of the box and give a more rounded service to your customers/clients.

It’s a win-win for both parties.

Attracting talent

As well as boosting staff retention, your recruitment efforts will usually be made a bit easier via upskilling too.

You see, professionals want to work for businesses who promote training and development opportunities.

So, if you’re highlighting this in your job description, you’ll get an influx of top performers sending in their applications.

Turning your business into a positive learning environment will catapult it above some of the industry’s biggest players.

Quick ways to implement an upskilling programme

Besides actively encouraging your employees to learn more, you must think about different programmes, resources and methods you can use to take professionals to the next level.

Assign everyone a mentor

Strategically plan your office so the less experienced professionals are next to senior members of staff.

These guys can be their official mentors.

Allocate time for self-training

The best way to encourage self-training is to give your employees a set time in the day to learn new things.

Rewarding those who do it in their own time is another great idea as well.

Sign-up to webinars and courses

Find top webinars and courses in your industry and give your employees the chance to get involved.

For more inspiration, take a look at 4 of the best training courses in 2019.

Good luck!

- Mark Wilkinson



Coburg Banks

We’re a UK based, multi-sector recruiter that‘s on a mission to prove that recruitment doesn’t necessarily have to be predictable and boring.