What Is Upskilling?

Earlier this year, Amazon announced a pledge to upskill 100,000 employees by 2025. Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer and employs more than 647,000 workers. So what is upskilling, and why is Amazon willing to invest so heavily in it?

What is upskilling?

“Upskilling” is the process in which an employer invests to improve the knowledge, skill, and ability of their employees.

This probably doesn’t sound all that unusual. Public school teachers are required to undergo training and professional development each year, and many businesses encourage employees to attend conferences and seek education to increase their value to the company. However, “upskilling” often refers to training program investments in manufacturing, distribution, and industrial type work where there’s been concern over a growing skills gap.

This isn’t exactly a new concept; it just has a nifty name.

The term, “upskilling” is relatively new. Google Trends doesn’t show search queries for “upskilling” until 2005, and web searches for the term were fairly sporadic until it became a buzzword in 2018. More people are talking about upskilling now than ever before, and Amazon has a big part in that.

Amazon stated in a press release it would invest over $700 million to provide upskilling training programs for a a third of its U.S. employees:

“Programs will help Amazonians from all backgrounds access training to move into highly skilled technical and non-technical roles across the company‚Äôs corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores, and transportation network, or pursue career paths outside of Amazon”

Why is upskilling important?

There are many reasons why a company would want to upskill employees.

  • Narrow the skills gap. As technology improves and the current workforce ages, fewer workers are qualified to carry out high skill tasks in manufacturing and the industrial sector.
  • Improve employee moral and confidence.
  • Investing in your employees improves the quality of work, which benefits the company.
  • It’s more cost effective to train current employees than to train new ones.
  • Everyone else is doing it. You can either stay competitive in your space or fall behind.
  • Automation will eliminate many of the lower skill jobs. Upskilling can help workers find new technology-based occupations. While Amazon announced an upskilling pledge, they also strongly pursue automation in warehouses and fulfillment centers to increase profits, lower costs, and get goods to consumers faster. The company’s press release heavily mentions the temporary nature of working at Amazon, stating that investing in employees gives them skills to “make the next step in their careers”.

Machinery upkeep is important, too.

While it is a good idea to invest in your employees, you can’t neglect your machinery. Maybe your motion control system is in dire need of maintenance or inspection, or maybe you’re considering upgrading your legacy Indramat system. We can help with that.

We specialize in Indramat motion control systems. Whether you need troubleshooting, preventive maintenance or inspection, Indramat repair, retrofitting, or upgrading, we can assist you with any of your Indramat system needs. Call 479-422-0390, or contact us online.