Upskilling or reskilling... what's next in your career?

We are now in the era of the "lifelong learning model," where individuals must continue to upskill or reskill to keep up with the changing workplace. That's where Continuing Education fits in. As a society, we no longer complete a degree or diploma, work an entire career in one field and then retire. Those days have come and gone.

Digital disruption and the need to keep up with technology has led many of us back to learning in the classroom and online. Over the last few decades we have seen the introduction and evolution of new software, technology, and devices that have kept us all on our toes. As billion-dollar companies continue to evolve their products, we must continue to acquire new skills to keep pace. We can no longer learn a platform or piece of software once and be done.

University of Calgary Continuing Education recognizes the demands of the workplace, emerging trends, and new technologies. Our mandate is to offer a wide range of programs to individuals and organizations seeking opportunities for professional development and personal enrichment. To fulfil this mandate, we offer programming options that are short-term, part-time, full-time, online, and in-class to fit your lifestyle and scheduling needs. We also offer customized corporate training options to meet the needs of employers.

In Alberta, large shifts in the workplace have been triggered by changes in the oil and gas sector, ongoing digital disruption, and the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are unemployed, feeling underemployed in your current job, or are planning to switch to a new field, the need to design your future is more pressing than ever before.

Upskilling and reskilling are not new concepts but it's worth reviewing their definitions for those who are unfamiliar. Upskilling refers to the continuous acquisition of new knowledge in your current field of practice, which helps you stay current. Reskilling is the opportunity to learn a new set of skills, especially if you are looking to pursue a new career direction. In both cases, Continuing Education has options for everyone to continue in their lifelong learning journey.

Continuing Education departments across Canada have long been offering micro-credentials to fill skill gaps for those in the labour force. Micro-credentials are short-term programs that focus on specific knowledge, skills and abilities needed in the workplace. With the shortening half-life of new knowledge, short micro-credentials are growing in popularity and demand. These programs allow individuals to continue working full-time jobs or raising a family while continuing their learning.

Our students report participating in continuous learning for many reasons. These include updating existing skills, earning a credential, upgrading their present career, enhancing their earning potential, facilitating a career change, and for enjoyment and personal interest. Whatever the reasons, continuing your lifelong learning journey improves your chances of landing or keeping your dream job.

Many of our students have discovered the benefits of upskilling. "UCalgary does a great job choosing instructors," says Karen Cunliffe, graduate of several Continuing Education programs including her recent completion of the Occupational Health and Safety Diploma. "They're not just academically strong ... they also have strong business acumen and can share real-life stories that help students translate their learning into workplace scenarios."

Corporate training is another component of Continuing Education at the University of Calgary. If you are an organization looking to re-energize your workplace and deliver professional development opportunities, we provide tailored training for both leaders and employees. Our collaborative approach with industry professionals contributes to our client's success and their employee's satisfaction at work.

We believe in lifelong learning, and we know that continuous learning is the primary way to succeed in today's ever-changing workplace.

Continuing Education continues to support a variety of learners, including mid-life career changers, entry-level learners, new Canadians, part-time learners, and displaced or unemployed individuals.

Prepare for your next career move. We hope to see you in the classroom or online soon!

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