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What is Upskilling? Learn to expand your skill set.

Have you heard of the word “upskilling? “According to Linkedin Learning, upskilling is “when an employee undertakes learning to expand their existing skill set, that learning is known as upskilling. These additional skills enhance the worker’s performance in their current role, potentially advancing them along their career path.” If you work in the federal sector, you may feel some pressure to continue to build your skills. But upskilling does not necessarily mean you have to splurge on another degree. Let’s dive into how you can upskill without emptying your pockets.

1. Discover Free Online Resources

Remember our blog about “Getting Your Head Around Online Learning“? The digital world is full of resources, many of which are free. Websites like Coursera, edX, and Khan Academy offer courses in various topic areas and disciplines. Federal professionals can find niche courses tailored to their specific roles or broader subjects that help in enhancing soft skills.

2. Attend Workshops and Webinars

Many organizations, especially within the federal sector, regularly conduct workshops and webinars. These sessions often invite experts in the field who share their knowledge and insights. It’s a fantastic way to learn from the best without leaving your desk or spending any money. Keep an eye out for these opportunities, register, and attend. Not only do you gain knowledge, but it’s also a chance to network with a community of practice.

3. Join Professional Organizations

Professional organizations often provide a platform for like-minded individuals to come together, share experiences, and learn. By joining such groups, federal professionals can access a wealth of knowledge, attend events, and even avail mentorship opportunities. Some organizations might have a membership fee, but the long-term benefits often outweigh the costs. An example is the National Association of Government Contractors.

4. Explore Peer-to-Peer Learning

Look around you – there is likely an abundance of knowledge in the cubicle next to you! Organize monthly “lunch and learns”, which allows team members to share their expertise on specific subjects. You learn something new, and by teaching, your peers can sharpen their presentation skills.

5. Volunteer for Projects that Requires you to “Stretch”

Stepping out of your comfort zone is an exhilarating way to learn. Stepping up for projects that challenge you, allows you to acquire new skills in a hands-on way, on the job.

6. Read! (Or listen)

Set aside 30 minutes a day to reading. You can find blogs (like this one!) to learn something new. Start a search on Google Scholar in an area you have an interest. You organization might have a Learning Management System (LMS), full of e-learning courses. A colleague of mine loves podcasts and listens to them as she walks-what a great way to learn something and do something healthy for yourself at the same time!

So, you can see that upskilling is not necessarily about a formal education. It is about the lifelong learning and the motivation to improve each and every day. If you are employed in the public sector, opportunities are numerous. Find out what works for you and make a commitment. Invest in yourself and maybe even upskill your way into a new career!


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