Retraining: what to know when broadening your skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 15 July 2022 | Published 20 May 2021

Updated 15 July 2022

Published 20 May 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Retraining can be a way to move towards your long or short-term career goals. Retraining can be a way to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. Retraining can also be a great way to enter a field that you are passionate about or may feel more suited to. In this article, we discuss some important things to know about retraining, including what it is, its benefits and how to get the most out of the retraining process.

What is retraining?

Retraining is the practice of renewing, developing and updating your skills through training and additional learning. It allows you, as an employee, to keep your skillset and knowledge up-to-date with industry developments in your specific role. Retraining can also include the training or qualifications needed to change careers or earn a promotion in your current field.

Companies can retrain their employees to invest in their professional development and career growth. Retraining will help their business stay informed and maintain a quality standard of work while also keeping their employees fulfilled and challenged in their roles.

As an employee, you can also choose to retrain on your own. There could be several reasons why you choose to retrain, but it's usually to progress your career somehow. By retraining, you can learn new skills that make you a more valued candidate in job searches, or you can realign your skills to suit a new career.

Benefits of retraining

Whatever your position, there can be many benefits of retraining and broadening your skillset. As the world progresses with technological advancements and changing needs, different skills and jobs are required. Employees gaining more skills and employers investing in their employees are usually worthwhile endeavours.

For employees:

Here are some of the benefits of retraining for employees:

  • Enhance your career prospects. Developing your skillset can be beneficial to your future prospects, no matter your end goal. Employers usually value candidates with a broad set of skills and who are focused on career growth. You never know when your training can come in handy.

  • Gain the ability to target a specific role or career. Focusing your retraining to align with a particular position or career can put you in a great spot when applying for that role. You can show the prospective employer that you are interested in that area while proving you have some knowledge of it.

  • Enhance your skills. Retraining can offer the chance to enhance your skills in your current role. This can make you more comfortable in your performance while encouraging new opportunities.

  • Better salary and job satisfaction. Retraining can make you a more qualified employee. This can result in a higher salary in your current role or future roles. It can also mean you're eligible for more senior or challenging roles, which can improve your job satisfaction.

For employers:

Here are some of the benefits of retraining for employers:

  • Higher quality of work from more informed employees. It can benefit the quality of work produced by employees when employers invest in their retraining. Retraining can give staff the tools and skills to work more efficiently and stay on top of industry updates.

  • More fulfilled team. Retraining can create a positive work environment. It can result in employees who are happy in their positions and feel valued by a company interested in their career growth. Staff will be more enthusiastic about their work, which can mean a higher quality of work and a lower staff turnover. Retraining your team can be cheaper for your business than having to train new staff members.

  • More efficient processes. Retraining staff can teach them more efficient ways of doing their job. It can save a lot of time and energy when your team incorporates what they have learned into their daily work and company processes. By simplifying the process, your staff can feel more motivated.

When is a good time to retrain?

It can be a good time to retrain when you want a change at work. It can mean you want to change careers or positions, but it doesn't have to represent such a significant change. By taking steps in retraining, you are setting yourself up for a more fulfilling, motivated and challenging career experience. Retraining can encourage your employer to give you more responsibility, move you into a more senior role or increase your pay.

Related: Top Tips for Successful Career Progression

Process of retraining

Below you'll find helpful information to take you through the process of retraining.

Brainstorm areas of interest

When the thought of retraining comes to mind, an excellent first step is to brainstorm ideas. You can write down whatever comes to mind. If it's a specific direction you want to go in, you can brainstorm the positions in that area. If it's because you're feeling unfulfilled in your current role, you could brainstorm other careers or more senior roles in your industry that you may be interested in.

The point of brainstorming is to develop ideas that can broaden your perspective of your next move. Brainstorming is a simple technique, but it can help you realise some options that you might not have otherwise considered.

Related: How To Create a Personal SWOT Analysis in 5 Steps

Research fields of interest or positions in your current field

Once you have some options, a great next step in any retraining decision is research. Knowledge from research can support your retraining process and give you the information to make an informed decision. Researching careers and jobs that interest you can help you understand what the job's daily work involves. This will give you more information about what a person in that specific job does to determine if it's a good fit for you. It can also help you understand what skills and training you will need if you decide it's something you would like to aim for.

Considering the job market of the position you could retrain in can be helpful. If there are many jobs available and the people working in that field have a high employment rate, that could help you decide. Or perhaps the retraining skills could be transferable to many roles. In this case, retraining could be beneficial even if you didn't have a set goal.

Researching the training and qualifications of other positions in your field can be important. This is relevant if you're considering expanding your current skills to aim for a promotion or a different job in your current work field. Some positions require specific training or qualifications to occupy. It can be a good idea to know what these are before taking steps to retrain and go for these positions.

Some questions to consider to help you with your research could include:

  • What career do you want?

  • What are the reasons you want it?

  • What skills and qualifications are needed?

  • What's the job market like for this career?

  • What type of retraining do you need to take?

Decision making

After you've done a sufficient amount of research, you can be in a good position for informed decision-making. Deciding on the way you want to progress, the training you may need, where to get this training and when to do it are all decisions that should be a part of this process. These decisions can be challenging because they require a change and commitment that usually takes some time to make. Having knowledge and a strong desire can help you decide the type of retraining to take.

Related: Models of decision making: descriptions and processes

Types of retraining

The type of retraining that will suit you can vary depending on your needs. One way is to complete training on the job when supported by your employer to update your skills. If you're looking to change positions or careers, you may have options to consider when determining what will be the best type of retraining. It can be important to consider whether the retraining type will be compatible with your current commitments.

Alternatively, you can take a traditional educational path and search colleges for relevant courses. Some career changes may require a higher level of study at a university. There's also an endless amount of online courses available in many different fields. Digital learning has become a standard way to take a course. These can be a great idea to introduce you to a subject or career field before you make a bigger commitment. They can also provide full qualifications and certificates.

Apprenticeships are another option to consider when retraining. Apprenticeships have modernised and are no longer for school leavers only. They can be a great way to learn a new skill for anyone at any age. With an apprenticeship, you can still earn a wage while retraining and earning a qualification.

Below is a list of some of the ways you can retrain:

  • Part-time or full-time university course

  • Part-time or full-time college course

  • Apprenticeships

  • Online training courses

  • Weekend or evening training courses

  • Attending industry conventions and seminars


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