News Ltd Money HQ: Use downtime to upskill - Michelle Gibbings

Michelle was interviewed for this article that featured in News Ltd’s Money HQ section. Michelle explains why now is the time to upskill, during this downtime caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MILLIONS of Australians will be rushing to sign up to the Federal Government’ s wage subsidy scheme but experts say now is also the perfect time to improve job skills.

Workers face months without employment but, under the Morrison Government’s new $130 billion JobKeeper scheme, eligible employees will be given a flat payment of $1500 per fortnight, paid via their employer.

Hospitality staff Marlee Tyson, 24, and Tim McNee, 19, worked together at a sports club but recently lost their jobs when the business was forced to close its doors.

Ms Tyson was working 25 hours a week and earning about $500 after tax.

She said accepting government payments was “a last resort” and instead she hoped to get back into the work force.

“I was working permanent parttime and then the new restrictions came in that we had to close down,” Ms Tyson said.

“I am not picky with what sort of job I get; I just want to get back out there working.”

Ms Tyson said receiving the JobKeeper payment was an option if she was unable to find a new job.

“My employer got in contact with us and they have applied for JobKeeper payment, so it’s something I can definitely consider,” she said.

In recent weeks supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have rolled out tens of thou- sands of jobs, as have other employers such as Centrelink, due to the high demand for their services.

Career adviser Michelle Gibbings said keeping physically and mentally fit was important for anyone not working, and this was also a time for individuals to reassess their career prospects.

“Anything you can do to have additional skills is important,” she said. “There are online sites that bring together courses you can do from universities around the world.

“Often it doesn’t cost much, or cost a few hundred dollars.”

This includes sites such as,, and

Council of Small Business of Australia’s chief executive officer, Peter Strong, said employers and employees needed to start thinking about ways to get innovative while businesses remained in hibernation.

“The JobKeeper payment means people are employed again and they can talk to their boss and fellow workers,” he said.

“Teams will look at what they can do with their business, including training and product development.

“They might learn how to become better at spreadsheets and websites, and become better at word processing.”

Publication: | | |