Part A: Demand for Continual Professional Skills Development in a Global Context
Professional Skills Development (PSD) is the commitment by an individual to frequently upgrade their knowledge & skills in order to remain professionally capable and attain their actual potential. The NCETA (Australia's National Research Centre) stated in their journal Workforce Development (2005);
Professional development has a range of benefits for individuals, organisations and clients, including: Improved worker performance and skill base, Increased confidence and motivation, Improved retention, Improved service delivery and Higher levels of organisational commitment.
These factors could be achieved by means of higher education, training, personal study, work experience or mentoring. Subsequently, the improvement of ones personal skill set and broadening of capabilities could result in career advancements and so it is essential for those looking to stay relevant and move ahead in their sector. This is heavily driven by the concept of Globalisation as new technologies and methods are constantly shaping the modern world. Professional Skills Development must therefore encompass not only particular knowledge of ones business sector but also global skills such as technological knowhow and networking overcoming barriers of culture and language.
The UK department for International Development has defined globalisation as the interdependence and interconnectedness of the modern world through increased flows of goods, services, capital, people and information. The process is driven by technological advances and reductions in the costs of international transactions, which spread technology and ideas, raise the share of trade in world production and increase the mobility of capital (Zajda, 2005).
Globalisation has created an urgent need for individuals to improve in terms of PSD due to the changes it has brought in the way in which the business world operates. This includes several key factors which shall be discussed in this paper. Firstly, developments in technology are rapid and ever moving therefore employees must stay informed and equipped with the knowledge and skills required to utilise both software and hardware that can aid them in their endeavours. Throughout the past decades computer technology has grown to such an extent that it has at some stages placed a threat to many aspects of the human work force. Computers have replaced many workers who previously carried out manual tasks. However, computers have limitations that can only be overcome by the knowledge and skills of free thinking beings and this is why PSD is of great importance. As Levy & Murnane (2005) stated in their paper How computerised work and Globalisation shape human skill demands , the skills which separate human employees from technological programs are: "Expert Thinking, Complex Communication, Routine Cognitive Tasks, Routine Manual Tasks and Non- Routine Manual Tasks." Each of these aspects must be addressed by workers in orders to continue to advance themselves in their careers to avoid substitution and not be left behind by the swift changes in the technological market. Secondly, Globalisation has built a platform in which the business world works without geographical barriers. Thanks to the internet companies can now communicate with each other inter-continentally in real time adding speed to negotiations and transactions. With its many advantages this new mode of working also widens the capabilities employees must hold in order to converse successfully with diverse cultures and languages. Rising global transfers of individual workers or businesses to new locations has also resulted in a day to day need to have an international approach within the workplace. Streeten (2001) theorised in his work Globalisation: threat or opportunity that Globalisation produces "integration and interdependence between nations". This therefore leads to...
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