Finance Work How workers can upskill during the coronavirus lockdown
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How workers can upskill during the coronavirus lockdown

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Workers and job hunters have an opportunity to level up their skill-set. Photo: Getty/TND
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Australia is now a month and a half into a national coronavirus lockdown, and recruiters say it has never been a better time to upskill.

With unemployment rates expected to rise beyond 10 per cent following the crippling shutdown of industries including retail, hospitality and tourism, learning new skills can help job seekers stand out from the crowd.

And Australians are already getting on board.

Enrolments in LinkedIn’s online learning courses on remote learning soared 10,925 per cent in April, while uptake of time management courses increased 7145 per cent, and courses on mindfulness jumped 224 per cent.

LinkedIn senior director of learning APAC Jason Laufer said online courses are not only easy and accessible, but help Australians to “ace the ‘new normal'” of working from home.

“Online courses are an accessible and easy way to equip yourself with the hard and soft skills necessary to do more in your career, or pivot into a new line of work,” Mr Laufer told The New Daily.

Traditional education providers and other online companies have also stepped up.

TAFE NSW is offering 21 short courses across a range of subjects free of charge.

And Education Minister Dan Tehan has previously promised to slash the price of university short courses to help Australians move into industries such as nursing and allied health.

Finder.com.au managing editor Kate Browne said job seekers should assess the quality of an education provider through the government’s online retraining portal before paying for a course.

If the provider passes that test, they should then consider how well the course matches their ideal job.

“You would want to check their qualifications, how long they have been around, former student reviews, and get a number of quotes as well,” Ms Browne told The New Daily.

“And in terms of finding an optimised course, speak to people in industry and gather their opinions on necessary training, because some workforce traits may not transfer seamlessly in an online course.”

So where to begin? Here are a few options to get you started.

Courses to help workers and jobseekers upskill

  • TAFE NSW: Courses range from developing business administration and customer service skills, through to digital imaging, coding and workplace leadership. Courses are strictly limited to two per person
  • Udemy: The online video course provider is offering more than 250 courses free of charge, on topics such as coding, software programming and web development. Beyond that, it also provides practical courses to improve photography skills, public speaking and meditation
  • General Assembly: Apart from its usual suite of paid courses – which range from a few hours in length to a matter of weeks – the collective’s ‘Free Fridays’ promotion grants learners free access to workshops that would normally cost $300. Fields include data analytics, social media strategy, project management and interview skills
  • LinkedIn: The social media platform is providing free courses for anyone in the workforce, from aspiring employees through to big business leaders. Among many others, there are courses for workers on managing stress and for teachers on adapting to online learning. LinkedIn has also introduced a new AI-driven instant feedback tool that can help job seekers improve their interview skills
  • Universities: The federal government has announced discounts of more than 50 per cent on online university courses across in-demand fields such as teaching, psychology, nursing, allied health, engineering and medical science. There are 20,000 discounted places on offer. Applicants must apply via their relevant tertiary provider, and courses run from May until December.