Sep 242016
 

With UK spending on corporate training on the upsurge, now is a good time to convince your employer to fund your education. According to UK Corporate Learning Factbook from Bersin by Deloitte, spending on corporate learning and development (L&D) initiatives grew by 11 percent to an average of £1,068 per learner.

Employer-funded training is a chance for you to widen your skills, stay relevant at work, and grow as a professional. On the flip side, it benefits your employer in the long run, with increased productivity, enhanced employee engagement, and lower employee turnover. Although it is a win-win for both parties, your employer may need some convincing before they invest in you. If you are not sure how to get the green light, here are some useful tips.

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Do your homework

Before you approach your employer for education reimbursement, do your own research about the company. Do they already provide any tuition reimbursement program? If yes, try to find out more details, including what courses they endorse, whether they get any tax deduction for this, and whether they have tie-ups with any institutions. Also, consider talking to some of your colleagues, who already received employer-funded education from the company. How did they convince their boss? How did they negotiate the time? What were the employer’s biggest concerns and how your colleagues addressed those? All these details will help you devise a strategy on how to convince your boss. If, however, your company did not fund any employee training program earlier, think about how you can pitch the idea to them.

Make a convincing case

No matter how good an idea you have, if you don’t know how to pitch it, you may fail to sell it. So take the time to prepare a killer pitch. The bottom line here is to show your employer that investing in you would be a profitable deal for the company. For best results, presume your boss’s possible concerns and address them one by one in your pitch. Some common concerns include;

  1. What if you leave the company after the training?

This is a big concern. If an employee leaves the company after education, it would be a huge loss to the employer. So tell your employer that you are ready to sign an agreement to assure them you’ll stay with the company for a certain period of time upon completion of the training program.

  1. How your education will benefit the organisation?

To address this concern, provide specific examples. For instance, tell them how the training program will help close skills gaps; and enable the company to take on more complex projects in future. If you are a building surveyor seeking funding for the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) program, tell them how, after you complete the program, they’ll be able to claim that they have chartered building surveyors.

  1. Why you?

Your employer may want to know why they should choose you over other employees. Show them that you are a deserving candidate. Talk about your skills, experience, commitment to work, and previous accomplishments. If possible, provide recommendations from your manager and colleagues.

Prepare your answers

After you present your pitch, your employer may ask you some questions to clear up any confusion. Thankfully, most employers ask almost similar types of questions. That means you can have your answers ready beforehand. Some typical questions most employers ask at this stage include;

  • How will you balance your study and work?
  • Don’t you think paying for your education will cost the company more than hiring a new employee?
  • Would you expect a promotion after completing your training?

You need to make a list of all possible questions that your employer may ask, and prepare your answer to each of them. For instance, in response to the question about how you’ll balance your work and education, you can tell them that you are planning to join an online program with flexible schedules.

Finally, choosing the right time to present your pitch is also important. One good idea would be to present it during your annual performance review meeting. Alternatively, you can consider scheduling a separate meeting with your boss for the same.

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