Upskilling Advice In Times Of Crisis

upskilling advice coding - careers

With the Covid-19 pandemic threatening the economy and job prospects, there has never been a better time to think of ways you can help your employees upskill. Gaining advice on upskilling gives your business the opportunity to expand your staff’s capabilities and potential. Also if outplacement is necessary at any point, then you know you’ve provided your employees with more than just a set of online resources, or simply helped them with CVs and interview advice. While many large firms have in-house training centres, medium to small-sized business with a limited budget for training and development should not feel discouraged. There are vast public and private initiatives underway to assist your employees with the skills they need to benefit them, and your business. But where do you start, with over 20,000 courses from over 160 providers? (source CIPD). Below are some guidelines to ensure that your staff benefits from what is being offered.


Self-analysis, a systematic attempt by an individual to understand his or her own personality, is the primary starting point for upskilling. Self-analysis can help a person to identify the areas of strengths and development areas in their career and assist them in coming up with a plan to tackle these weaknesses. By conducting self-analysis, the employee is better able to choose the course that might suit their interests and career prospects. The self-analysis module can be done through the Transition Peak website, an online career training and coaching portal that offers upskilling advice to organisations that help develop and empower their departing employees.

UK Government led courses

The biggest initiative to date is The Skills ToolKit, which is an online learning platform to help individuals enhance skills while staying at home. The initiative was launched in April this year by the Department of Education. The platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses that offer upskilling advice, help them progress in work and boost their job prospects. Your employees can practically learn about anything, from maths to coding. The courses are provided for free from trusted providers such as The Open University, Lloyds Bank, Google, Amazon and FutureLearn. The topics range from sending an email to becoming a professional digital marketer. The skills toolkit is a great starting point.

Corporate led courses and initiatives

The Prime Minister’s announcement of £20 million at the World Economic Forum to fund the Institute of Coding in 2018, was a clear effort to drive digital skills up. The Institute is a consortium of industry and university partners such as IBM, Cisco Microsoft and Open University.

Separate to this initiative, Microsoft has recently launched a learning platform on LinkedIn that allows your staff to learn the relevant skills for jobs in-demand for free. You can develop your staff’s learning paths from LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn. The platform then allows them to practice tech skills in the GitHub Learning Lab. Courses for 10 key topic areas are provided including software development, project management, financial analysis and graphic design.

Lloyds Bank Academy is another great online training platform that can be accessed for free at any time of the day (or night). Courses range from life courses, to work for charities and gaining new skills like working with spreadsheets.

Other industry-specific courses can also be found for free. For example, Google Skillshop is an online tool for your staff to learn at their own pace and get Google product certified. Another great place for IT and cloud-based courses is AWS (Amazon Web Services) training and Certification. AWS is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, so suggesting a course or two there will support your employee’s career path.

NGO run initiatives

If your staff are interested in more particular courses, there are a lot of charities out there that are willing to help. Scotland Women in Technology (Swit) offer courses in Cybersecurity and Computer programming. Swit has partnered with the global technology giant Cisco Systems to provide Cisco academy, which gives members access to free online certified courses.

EdX is another non-profit trusted platform for education and learning. It is founded by Harvard, MIT and most top-ranked universities in the world and industry-leading companies. Topics range from data and computer science to leadership and communications. You might need to pay a small fee for the certification on Edx.

Paid but reasonably priced online courses

If you and your staff require more industry-specific skills, we have researched some of the companies we have identified two major online providers:
Udemy is one of the largest providers of online video courses. Topics include photography and video to IT and software. Videos and courses are provided by industry subject experts.

Coursera provides hundreds of free courses and gives access to on-demand video lectures, homework exercises, and community discussion forums. Paid courses provide additional quizzes and projects as well as a shareable course certificate upon completion.

In conclusion, there has never been a better time to assist your employees to upskill during these difficult times. Sometimes all they require is some guidance as to what course to take and what direction to pursue. By being kind to your employees and by providing them with the skills they need to succeed, you are protecting your brand and staying ahead of the curve if outplacement is required. What’s more, you’re also boosting your ability to retain your skilled and trained talent.

For a free and confidential discussion about your outplacement needs, please get in touch. To access more of our advice and thinking, take a look at our latest insights. Sign up for our newsletter here. Follow us on LinkedIn here.

About the Author

Charlotte Billington, Career Transition Coach and Co-Founder of Transition Peak
Linda GhusayniTransition Peak Co-Founder
Linda has over 15 years experience in Banking and Finance. She started her career with Citi whilst still at university studying for her MBA. She was later transferred to their London Office in Canary Wharf where she assisted with restructuring the Financial systems of the bank Globally. After staying with the bank for over 8 years she decided to move on to a role with Expedia where she was the Senior Analyst of Expedia’s Financial Telecommunication department. She is passionate about moving people forward and simplifying the complex and chaos.