Upskilling is the process of learning new skills to keep up with changing demand. By 2024, there will be an expected shortfall of four million highly skilled workers in the UK. That’s a substantial number of people missing skills, and a lot of job roles to fill. The pandemic has also had a significant impact on the job market. Research suggests that the UK economy is set to grow at its fastest rate in 70 years in a post-pandemic boom. Getting ahead by upskilling now will help you stay competitive. As a higher number of roles become automated, more people will need to upskill to qualify for alternative jobs. Companies will be looking for adaptable people who have taken the initiative to develop themselves. They’ll be seeking practical skills as well as soft skills, like creativity and problem-solving.

In this article, we look at four reasons why upskilling is so important.

What upskilling options are there?

Upskilling doesn’t have to mean formal education or retraining. Whilst these experiences are certainly valuable, there are plenty of other options available. For example, you could learn a new skill by listening to a podcast, doing a short online course, or attending a conference. Flexible options such as these mean you can stay up to date with industry news and trends, in a way that’s manageable alongside your existing workload.

4 reasons why upskilling will benefit you

Upskilling is important in any industry, but it’s particularly important for VAs, PAs and EAs for these four reasons:

1)   Future-proofing your career

Having transferable skills will set you up for the future, even as demand for skills continues to change. An area experiencing rapid growth currently is the digital market, so you may want to start there! The pandemic forced many companies to give up traditional systems and switch to digital to stay afloat during lockdown. This means that many of the most in-demand jobs of 2021 can be carried out remotely, with 84% of employers planning to expand remote working. As a VA, PA or EA, you’re already likely to have experience working off-site. So, why not continue developing your digital skills to fully prepare for the future virtual world of work?

2)   Improving your confidence

Upskilling isn’t just about your career development. Setting time for yourself to grow will boost your self-esteem and motivation, too. Learning new things is just as important for your personal development as an individual as it is for your career. A new-found confidence will help you understand more about yourself. You might gain clarity about what motivates or interests you, for example, or re-evaluate your career goals.

1)   Gaining a competitive advantage

Up-to-date skills will give you a competitive advantage over other VAs, PAs or EAs. These roles often require word-of-mouth endorsements, and the ability to demonstrate a diverse skill set will set you in good stead for receiving these. If you can evidence that you’re a quick learner and are adaptable, this will serve you well when applying for VA, PA or EA roles. Upskilling not only demonstrates adaptability but also your commitment to your career. You’ll strengthen your relationships with clients as they’ll recognise the effort you’re putting into your self-development, and by extension, your work. 

2)   Becoming more efficient

Upskilling will also help you become more productive and more efficient. You might develop better time-management skills, for example, which will help you to prioritise tasks. Improving your digital skills will also transform the way you work, as you become adept at managing multiple online platforms and interfaces. As you expand your skills, you’ll naturally begin to produce work of a higher quality. As a result, you’ll bring more value to your clients and keep them coming back for more.

Making time for upskilling means you’ll never be out of work opportunities! The more you learn, the more in demand you’ll become. There are so many routes available for you to develop and become the best VA, PA or EA you can be. However, if the prospect of upskilling seems daunting, we recommend starting small  – or with something that you’re already familiar with – and working from there.

Upskilling in MS Office with Tomorrow’s VA

At Tomorrow’s VA, we offer a suite of MS Office training courses created by company founder Shelley Fishel – an experienced MS Office training provider of 20 years and a Fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute. As well as delivering training, Shelley is a regular speaker at events such as The PA Show, hosts her own ‘Virtually Amazing’ podcast, and has even written a series of 48 books and manuals about MS office applications! So, she certainly knows her stuff!

Our courses can be purchased either individually (on a ‘pay as you go’ basis) or packaged together in a discounted bundle known as ‘The Hub’. Members of The Hub will receive lifetime access to its content – with Shelley regularly adding new course material!

This is the perfect tool for those looking to upskill their digital knowledge and experience. You’re likely to recoup the cost of training in MS Office many times over if you’re working as a VA, PA or EA. So, with career benefits like these, you really can’t afford not to!

If you would like to find out more about our MS Office training courses, please get in touch to discuss your options!

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes