[Ads-l] _ Upskill _ Your Career

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 22 18:36:53 EST 2017

The OED has an entry for "upskill".

[Begin excerpt]
upskill, v.
trans. = reskill v.; also, to increase or enhance the skills required
in (a job).

1983   Daily Tel. 19 Jan. 6/2   The Social Democrats committed
themselves yesterday to a package of major educational reforms aimed
at ‘upskilling’ Britain and bringing the education system into line
with the needs of the economy.

upskilling  n.

1983   Spectator 11 June 8/3   She talked about ‘upskilling and
upgrading’ and about education being a ‘life-long process’.
[End excerpt]

I did not try to antedate "upskill", but the term reminded me of
"deskill" which also has an entry in the OED.

[Begin excerpt]
deskill, v.
trans. To convert (a workplace, employment) from one that requires a
skilled worker or workers to one that does not; to reduce the number
of skilled workers in (an industry); of new technology, etc.: to
render (a skilled worker) unskilled.

1941   Country Life 1 Feb. 93/1   Civil servants are adept at the
creation of composite words... One of the latest examples is the verb
‘to de-skill’, which is, we believe, applied to factories and refers
to the increasing [use] of unskilled labour in them.
[End excerpt]

I was surprised to see "deskill" was in use in 1941, but I located an
even earlier instance in 1938 in an aircraft magazine. The match was
only viewable as a snippet in Google Books. Luckily, a full view
archive of the periodical was available on a different website.

Periodical: Flight: The Aircraft Engineer and Airships: First
Aeronautical Weekly in the World
Volume 33, Number 1522
Date; February 24, 1938
Article: LUCKY THIRTEENTH: Annual Dinner of A.l.D. Technical Staff
Association: 1,200 Hosts and Guests
Publishing Office: Dorset House, Stamford Street, London
Quote Page 178


[Begin excerpt]
AIR CHIEF MARSHAL SIR CYRIL NEWALL, Chief of the Air Staff, was the
guest of honour at the thirteenth annual dinner of the A.I.D.
Technical Staff Association, held at Grosvenor House, London, last
Friday. In the course of a very excellent speech, the C.A.S. made a
very neat point when he said that, although it is possible to
"de-skill" jobs during manufacture of aircraft and aero engines, it is
not possible to "de-skill" inspection.
[End excerpt]

There is another snippet match in Google Books for "deskill" in "The
Aeroplane", Volume 54, 1938 which I didn't try to verify.


On Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 4:50 PM, Andy Bach <afbach at gmail.com> wrote:
> On a course catalogue for our local technical college "It's time to
> _Upskill_ Your Career" - not sure why it upset me and upended my respect
> for them but it is a term with which I will not upput.
> --
> a
> Andy Bach,
> afbach at gmail.com
> 608 658-1890 cell
> 608 261-5738 wk
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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