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How to convince your employer to let you do a course

It doesn’t matter what job you’re employed to do, you’ll need at least a little bit of training in order to be able to do it. But what happens if you’re starting to stagnate in your role and you want to learn more?

Jade O'Donoghue
12th February 2016
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Or what if your role has changed and you need more training in how to do the new aspects of it? Or, worse, what if you feel that you never had enough training in the beginning and you’re struggling to manage all that you’re meant to do?

In any of these cases, though the kneejerk reaction is to start writing up that letter of resignation, it’s time to start thinking about asking your employer for more training. No one likes an awkward conversation with their boss, but here are some tips to help it go your way...


Work out who the best person to talk to actually is

The first reaction is usually that this will be your line manager, in which case hopefully you work closely enough with them that they will be sympathetic to your request as they will know you need it. However, in some companies your line manager might not have the authority to approve a budget for a course and you may need to go higher. In many cases, it will be HR who deal with training requests and you might need to meet with them too to discuss your request.


Sit down in private at a time when you’re both free

Whether it’s HR, your line manager or someone else you need to speak to about it, it’s unlikely to be a decision that can be made on the spot. Book a meeting in the calendar and try and ensure it’s in a neutral place (ie not at their desk). Make sure it’s quiet and that you’ve both put adequate time aside to have a full discussion. Catching someone off guard might seem like a good idea (maybe they’ll make a rash decision and just say yes?), but it won’t reflect well on you or your request and may result in you not being taken seriously.


Outline how the course will benefit not just you but the company as a whole

Explain what it would bring to the company if you were trained in this particular subject. If you can outline the value, reassure them you’d be willing to pass any knowledge on and explain that you plan to stay there and progress internally rather than going elsewhere to do this training, you’ll be far more likely to get a yes. This will show that paying for a course for you is actually an investment rather than a benefit for you personally.


Do your research – present your employer with courses you think are suitable

You’re in the right place to start searching for courses and comparing which ones are best for you! In all seriousness though, proving you’ve really thought about this will definitely go in your favour. Print information off, list the pros and cons (try and make them mostly pros and ensure you’ve got answers to the cons!), chat to others in the organisation who might have done similar training and generally show that you know this isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.


Have a contingency plan if they say no

A no is always going to be a possibility but if you’re prepared for that you might be able to change it to a yes or at least have the idea considered again in the future. Ask questions and get to the bottom of their reasons for no. For example – What can I do going forward to make you think this is worthwhile? Find out if it’s something  that could be a possibility in the future. Perhaps ask if there are options for people within the company who have taken courses in the subject you’re hoping to learn more about to teach you a little bit for now until a course is a viable option.


Next steps

Well, if you were successful, it’s time to book yourself on the course! If you weren’t, consider your options; if you feel like the course is integral to your job and will impede you completing it correctly, then you may wish to take the decision higher and have someone else consider it. Could you afford to do it yourself in your own time? If it’s something you think will aid your personal development and be good for your CV then maybe it’s worth the investment. Alternatively, though it’s not ideal, maybe it’s time to move on and get that training elsewhere or in a different role?

Whatever the outcome, don’t feel as though you have to give up on your dream course – there are many different options out there including many ways of funding a course if you do decide to do it yourself. And, of course, we’re always here to help, head to our advice page for more tips and inspiration. Good luck!

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