Knowledge And Skill – What Are The Differences?
The difference between knowledge and skills before the age of the internet, was obvious to everyone, but not available to everyone.
Nowadays, all knowledge is freely available, if you know where to look online. Gaining skills however, is a more difficult nut to crack in this digital age we are all living in.
If you didn’t do well in school in the mid 20th century and missed out on University knowledge, you could get an apprenticeship and gain the skills to pay the bills.
This lasted up until the world wide web was launched. Actually, let’s take if back a bit further back to the mid 1980’s.
That is when most 20th century apprenticeships all but disappeared in the UK, due to Margaret Thatchers relentless mission to transform the UK from a manufacturing hub into a service industry.
I gained this knowledge from my own personal experience of leaving school in 1985 with no O Levels. My three brothers were engineers and none of them went to University.
I went to the job centre expecting to find out about apprenticeships and found nothing but YTS schemes. This was working 40 hours a week for £28. I laughed at the advisor, told her I was going to be a pop star and signed on for 18 years.
In this time I taught myself how to play the guitar and write songs which led to four major record deals, a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing and fame. It was self taught skills that got me there.
I went to college for 1 year when I left school to get my O Level in Art. Here I made many friends who went onto University when they left college. One of them is now a world leading psychologist.
Knowledge is something you learn at University, while skills are something you gain on the job.
The knowledge of theoretical concepts that you learn at University is not transformed into skills until you leave University and gain some practical understanding.
This used to give on the job skills gainers a three year head start.
The Digital Age
So the chips have been down for the likes of me since the dawn of the digital age. My valuable skill set was hung, drawn and quartered the minute Napster appeared. By 2005, no advances were available from record companies or publishers anymore.
When my last record deal ended in 2005, the only jobs I could get with no experience, were in telesales.
These were the jobs in the back of the newspaper that I would laugh at when I had 100’s of thousands of pounds in my bank account from recording and publishing advances.
I didn’t start retraining there though. I started off cleaning old peoples homes for six months, where I gained some social skills and interaction with people.
I then started selling publishing space in books made in conjunction with Manchester Evening News.
It was always me on the phone to record companies and management companies selling my bands, so I had the skills mastery and I was a natural at telesales.
My existing skills or basis of writing skills were put to work on my first and second novels and children’s books.
I now have 21 books in the British library.
I also moved to Thailand in 2014 and began my teaching career after 16 years of telesales. Retrain – Re-skill.
Surfing The Digital Age
Despite the set backs in my music career and the retraining I have had to do to survive, I am glad I made the decisions I made when I left college.
I learned some master skills that have helped me to surf the digital age.
The way I have stayed alive cannot be taught in a three year University course. It has to be lived.
Through the internet, I have secured a licensing deal with the only independent record label left in the UK, I teach online and I sell and blog online.
Nowadays of course, there are plenty of digital apprenticeships that have naturally (or unnaturally) replaced the manufacturing apprenticeships of yesteryear.
The modern workforce is not blue collar, it has no collar. The modern workforce does not sweat, it does not drink, it does not strike or take sick pay.
The modern workplace does require time at university and a knowledge base.
The playing filed is still level though and the vital skills needed to get into the modern workplace are now taught in schools and can be gained online.
In my young days, there were only two ways to get out of the rat race. Become a world class musician or a world class footballer. The latter is still alive and kicking, the former is still a dangerous road to go down, but at least now you don’t need to be a musician.
You Are Not Skilled By Knowing
Even though times have changed and the fourth industrial revolution is increasingly impinging on our lives and job opportunities, for me, you cannot replace skills with knowing.
You still need both but it is now easier to gain the skills without the knowledge.
Knowing will never know the skills needed to get the job done without the practical experience or application of knowledge.
The skilled work person will always be more valuable than the basic knowledge or the definition of knowledge. Only the combination of knowledge and skills mastery will give the uninitiated or un-wealthy the edge over the privileged few.
So, the old skills are still valid but not taught and not needed. The new skills are taught, valid and needed in this digital age.
If the fourth industrial revolution continues to engulf us all, the skill set you choose to gain knowledge of, could be the most important decision you ever make in your life.
A Wife, a mum and a Tutor! I am the Lead Editor at TheTutor.Link & also the Head Tutor there. I love teaching seeing young minds flourish. I also love blogging and sharing my experience on the world wide web.