The pandemic has changed my job, so what should I retrain as?
In a post-pandemic landscape, and as half of UK businesses turn to artificial intelligence, now is the time to upskill – and these are the core skills you need
Though the government advert suggesting that Fatima the ballerina should reskill to work in tech was not received well, and was eventually scrapped, the campaign did bring up an important issue that many of us are facing. With the job landscape completely transformed by Covid-19, is it time to retrain and try something new?
Unemployment has hit a three-year high in the UK since the pandemic struck, with 1.5 million people out of work at the end of August. In the three months to August, 227,000 people were made redundant – twice as many as the same period the year before and as high as the start of the financial crash of 2009.
Some industries – such as live events and the arts – have been particularly hampered by lockdowns, and when we return to some form of normalcy, it is easy to imagine that competition for such roles will be all the more fierce.
It is not just the pandemic that is pushing people to reskill, however. There is also the issue of automation and digitisation – as technology improves, many manual jobs currently performed by humans will be taken over by machinery or technology. A study released by Fountech in September suggested that more than half of British companies have begun exploring how to use artificial intelligence (AI), with 45% planning to introduce AI technology within the next year.
With these factors in mind, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has advised the government that it should be prepared to invest £13 billion in training. It has suggested that by 2030, 90% of the British workforce will need to retrain or upskill.
The government announced this summer that it is investing £2.5 billion in a training programme called Lifetime Skills Guarantee. This will give adults who do not have A levels the chance to undertake a free vocational college course.
So, with robots threating our jobs and the professional landscape unrecognisable after Covid-19, which skills should you retrain for? The CBI suggests that a good place to start is a leadership and management course. It also says that training in interpersonal and advanced communication skills will help futureproof your job prospects.
Building STEM skills is another avenue it advises. A STEM course offers learners the chance to study a blend of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“Investing in the UK’s human capital by boosting the skills of our workforce offers a huge opportunity: boosting productivity, improving job satisfaction, and enhancing livelihoods for workers,” said Tera Allas, research and economics director at analyst McKinsey & Company, which partnered with CBI on its research. “Achieving this will need a significant shift in current approaches to adult education and to skills investment.” Find out how you can upskill or retrain to futureproof your job prospects with one of Free2Learn’s adult learning courses.