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How to upskill for a post-pandemic world

by Chloe Baird

If your job has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering what your next move should be.

If you’ve considered upskilling or retraining in order to help you find work, Open Colleges provides a number of online and on-campus courses that can help you get back on your feet.

Why now is the time to start upskilling

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely reshaped the way that we think about work. And I’m not just talking about working remotely.

We’ve been seeing certain trends emerging over the last twenty years or so. For one, it’s no longer expected that you’ll stick to any one career path until you retire. It’s common for people to have two or more different career paths during their working life.

The need for universal, transferrable skills has also come into sharp focus. There are some transferable skills that are widely sort after, no matter the industry. Maybe it’s your ability to efficiently manage a team to maximise productivity. Or maybe your time spent in customer service has helped you to hone your active listening skills and has taught you patience and diplomacy. The government also has a fantastic resource that will help you identify your transferrable skills.

While the pandemic may have forced many people to rethink their current career trajectory, transitioning careers during your lifetime is not only something that’s become commonplace but also accessible.

If you’ve been thinking about upskilling or retraining, now is the time to do it.

Gear your skillset towards growth industries

There is no denying that the pandemic has had a devastating effect on certain industries, such as entertainment, tourism and hospitality. But while some sectors have had it much tougher than others, there are some that have thrived.

If you’re thinking of switching careers, or need to find work in an industry you can be relatively certain is recession-proof, there are some industries in Australia that have come out of the pandemic better than others.

Some of the fastest growing industries in Australia include Cybersecurity and healthcare. And even a negative growth index won’t stop these industries from expanding year after year.

What skills should you be focusing on right now?

While there are some industries that have boomed during the pandemic, or at least have not been adversely affected by it, there are many skills that employers across all industries will now be looking for.

1. Adaptability and creativity

When the pandemic hit, employers and employees alike had to react quickly to make sure they were able to adapt in order to remain in business. We saw alcohol companies turn to creating hand sanitiser, and we’ve seen demand for drive-in concerts in Australia to support live music. Creativity and adaptability go hand in hand, but the trick will be to keep this level of innovation going post-crisis. 

2. Problem-solving and critical thinking

This also fits in with the above point. Australians are resourceful, and even when faced with unprecedented and devastating issues (such as the ongoing drought, devastating summer bushfires, and now the coronavirus outbreak) we refuse to stop thinking of ourselves as ‘the lucky country’. Employers will be looking for people who identify as creative problem solvers, optimistic change makers and canny critical thinkers.

3. Communication with customers

Communicating effectively with customers during the pandemic has been paramount for many business, especially since marketing and advertising have shifted so dramatically in recent weeks. In order for many businesses to keep in touch with their client base, they need to make sure their messaging is clear and concise. This covers everything from letting customers know what their opening hours are, to how they are doing their part during the crisis.

In the same vein, many businesses may need to re-engage with their customers. This will drive the need for employees who are strong and effective communicators, and familiar working within a digital space.

4. Digital and tech skills for companies

With many companies looking to keep their staff working remotely, or at least in part, there will be even more demand for tech savvy employees.

Beyond this, employers will also be looking for those with IT or Cybersecurity skills to meet the growing demand for trained professionals.

Studying online to learn new skills

The NSW government has wholeheartedly jumped onboard with online learning: they have committed to deliver high-quality online vocational education and training (VET) in every government high school by 2022.¹

In addition, the NSW government has also recommended Open Colleges as an online education provider Australians can trust to gain a qualification.

The message is clear: online education is the way of the future.

Why study an online course with Open Colleges?

Many education providers have moved their course content online to help people get back on their feet. While the education industry’s reactiveness has meant that people can continue their education even in lockdown, many education providers have had to rapidly shift their bricks and mortar classrooms into an online space.

Open Colleges have been leading the way in distance education for over 125 years. We’ve perfected our education delivery methods over the years, and our world-class online learning platform has been purpose-engineered to bring our students a well-rounded online experience.

Our courses are designed by vocational experts specifically for a digital platform. This means you’ll receive training that is relevant, focused, and designed to get you job-ready by the time you graduate (if not before).  

Studying online has never been more accessible. Find out how you can realise your potential with Open Colleges today.


Source: *1. NSW Government. 24 June, 2020. ‘Online skills training in all NSW high schools’.

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