Work­ers seek a cash boost from free on­line study

The Queensland Times - - MONEY - CARA JENKIN

WORK­ERS are up­skilling in dig­i­tal me­dia tech­niques dur­ing the coronaviru­s pan­demic to main­tain their liveli­hoods now, but also to in­crease their in­come ca­pac­ity when the cri­sis is over.

From trades to white col­lar, ju­nior to ex­ec­u­tive, peo­ple are tak­ing ad­van­tage of short cour­ses of­fered via on­line study, and some train­ing providers are of­fer­ing cour­ses for free.

Sub­jects such as so­cial me­dia marketing and un­der­stand­ing search en­gine op­ti­mi­sa­tion are pop­u­lar among both em­ploy­ees and self-em­ployed peo­ple.

Re­search shows job ads list­ing dig­i­tal lit­er­acy as a re­quire­ment pay more than $8500 ex­tra a year than sim­i­lar roles that do not.

And a sur­vey last year by on­line jobs board SEEK found a quar­ter of its 1500 re­spon­dents cited dig­i­tal skills as the pro­fes­sional abil­ity they most wanted to im­prove, sec­ond only to com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills.

HubSpot Academy has found con­tent marketing has been the most stud­ied sub­ject in its suite of 300 les­sons, record­ing 140 per cent growth in stu­dents since Fe­bru­ary.

Marketing head Kat War­boys said while its in­bound marketing and in­bound sales cour­ses had been pop­u­lar with work­ers want­ing to up­skill their cus­tomer ser­vice skills for spe­cific roles, there had been broader in­ter­est in dig­i­tal me­dia skills.

“Peo­ple are hav­ing to run vir­tual events, and peo­ple don’t know how to do that,” she said.

“It is in­deed a re­sponse to the sit­u­a­tion so they can still op­er­ate. In the dig­i­tal space, chan­nels are emerg­ing all the time, email marketing con­stantly changes with tech­nol­ogy and al­go­rithms (so work­ers need to im­prove skills).”

For NSW res­i­dents, the State Gov­ern­ment and TAFE NSW have part­nered to pro­vide cour­ses in ar­eas in­clud­ing cre­at­ing and main­tain­ing web­sites and dig­i­tal im­agery.

Tor­rens Univer­sity Aus­tralia has part­nered with on­line devel­op­ment plat­form Im­proveMe to of­fer free learn­ing to work­ers, par­tic­u­larly those who have lost their jobs be­cause of the pan­demic.

Peo­ple who sign up to the Im­proveMe Devel­op­ment Por­tal via Im­proveMe.com.au be­fore July 31 will re­ceive one year’s free ac­cess.

Reg­is­tered users will also be able to ac­cess on­line short cour­ses provided by Tor­rens Univer­sity Aus­tralia at no cost from now un­til the end of the year.

The cour­ses have a dig­i­tal fo­cus such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, user ex­pe­ri­ence de­sign and so­cial me­dia marketing, but also cover man­age­ment skills in ar­eas such as emo­tional in­tel­li­gence and lead­er­ship.

Im­proveMe founder Brent Lehmann said it wanted to help peo­ple who had lost their liveli­hoods in re­cent months to re-skill, up­skill and pre­pare them­selves for the fu­ture.

“Any age, any de­mo­graphic back­ground – we want to pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity to use this time to set your­self up for a re­turn to work – at no ex­pense to you dur­ing a dif­fi­cult eco­nomic time,” he said.

Tor­rens Univer­sity Pro-Vice Chan­cel­lor of Busi­ness and Hos­pi­tal­ity Dr Greg Harper said ed­u­ca­tion had a trans­for­ma­tive power.

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