Many people returning to work at the office after the COVID-19 lockdowns have, after the experiences of last year, started reconsidering their priorities and vision for their future. Among these are those who have realised that their skills are not sufficiently future proof to withstand disruptions of the magnitude we faced in 2020, and others who realised that they are better suited to working independently from home.
“As the world of work has changed, so too are in-demand skills evolving in response to this fluctuating environment,” says Elbie Liebenberg, MD at Oxbridge Academy, a leading private college that serves more than 20 000 South African distance learning students every year.
Liebenberg says South Africans are waking up to the reality that they need to be constantly updating their skills to stay relevant and competitive in an ever-changing job market, and to the fact that there may well be future developments that could see the need to return to a work-from-home scenario.
“What last year has showed us, is that the world as we know it can change in an instant, and that we need to ensure we are as well-positioned and empowered as possible to respond effectively in case of an emergency. So many South Africans are considering ways in which they can leverage their existing skills by adding complementary skills, and what path they can pursue that will allow them to possibly work for themselves rather than be dependent on permanent employment. Many are also thinking of what new course of action they can take to ensure they are able to continue working from home, whether by choice or by reasons outside of their control,” she says.
Liebenberg says those who now find themselves re-assessing their position, have a number of exciting fields that they can consider, which would allow them to gain skills that are in high demand skills, while also being able to work from home.
· DIGITAL MARKETING
Regardless of what is going on in the world, companies will always need to build their reputation and gain exposure to attract their relevant target markets. The way that is done in 2021, is to a large extent via digital platforms.
A skills certificate in digital marketing introduces you to important digital marketing concepts and practices and helps those considering a career in marketing gain a better understanding of what digital marketing entails. It is also a great option for those who are currently in junior marketing positions who want to upskill, or those who are in a different field and want to make a career change.
· SOCIAL MEDIA
If your knowledge of social media does not extend much further than reading the Facebook status updates of your friends or posting selfies, getting your teeth into the nitty gritty of social media can have great career benefits – particularly if you already have another qualification or work experience.
Regardless of your existing field, developing your social media skills and knowledge can always be employed as a complementary value-add to your existing skillset.
A social media introductory course will familiarise you with all the most relevant social media platforms, and give you a broader understanding of how to use them for both personal and marketing purposes.
This course would be a great fit for someone who needs to get a stronger grasp of the social media world for work purposes, or someone who is already in a junior marketing type position who wants to enhance and update their skills to their professional benefit.
· NEW VENTURE CREATION
For some, lockdowns meant that they quickly had to find a new way of earning an income, due to furloughing, reduced salary or even redundancy. For those who started small businesses of their own, getting to grips with the basics of running a successful entrepreneurial venture can make a huge difference in the trajectory and success of their business.
Understanding the fundamentals of business skills, management practice, office data processing, and entrepreneurs and business management will help the new business owner avoid the traps and identify the fundamentals of best business practice, without having to go through reinventing the wheel through a trial-and-error basis.
“The aforementioned are just three of the fields which ambitious people considering their next path can look at. In fact, there are many more fields that will enable you to keep your skills relevant and updated, while being able to work from home,” says Liebenberg.
“Importantly, upskilling or changing course doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to study towards a degree. Taking responsibility for your own personal and professional development, by gaining the skills you need to get the work done, combined with a solution-focused approach and a strong work ethic, is a great foundation on which to start building your dream career for the future.”