For the majority of us, a typical day at work doesn’t involve studying or revising for exams. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your career as a springboard for education.
It’s never too late to learn.
A 2018 study by Pew Research found that when their respondents took part in additional learning, 90% found that it ‘helped them to feel more capable and well-rounded’. Increasing your knowledge can help you to feel more confident, as well as helping you to see greater success in all aspects of your life.
Within your workplace, being able to prove your skills through qualifications and certifications means it’s easier to see what you’re worth. This is especially important for women since there is a tendency for promotions and bonuses to go to men, even if they are not more qualified.
Whether you’re looking for an extra line in your CV, or you simply want to brush up on certain skills, here are our five steps for successfully negotiating your education in the workplace.
Decide what you want to learn.
As obvious as it sounds, you have to know what you want to learn. Have a look at the courses or qualifications commonly found in your industry. A good place to start is the ‘requirements’ section of job postings.
Read all the testimonials you can find for courses you’re considering. You want to make sure that you’re choosing reputable companies for your own sake, but also to strengthen your argument when you eventually bring your request to your manager.
Research your company.
Does your company have a certain stance on education in the workplace? Maybe you already know of potential opportunities offered through your HR department?
Working from home has served as a much-needed reminder for many people that there is more to life than just working, and as a result, many companies are looking to expand their employee benefits through discounts to education or additional ‘perks’. If this is the case for you, could any of these existing opportunities suit you
Develop a pitch
You’ve figured out what you want to learn, and now you have a better understanding of how you think your workplace will respond to your request. This means it’s time for you to put together a pitch, and formally ask your work to fund a course or programme for you.
The biggest question you need to answer here is Why your work should fund this education. Will the skills you learn be invaluable to your future work? Will you be able to take on greater responsibilities? Try to prove the benefits your work will get from the education as much as you can.
Talk to your workplace.
Now that you’ve done all the prep work, it’s time to talk to your work about your request. Not only will this start the process, but it should also help lift any guilt you might be feeling about using work hours to learn.
Think of this discussion as any other work request - it’s nothing out of the ordinary, and you should never be penalised for exploring possible opportunities. For more tips on the process, read this Watson article written by Olga: ‘Why you shouldn’t just pay attention to your wages when choosing a job’
Show your worth.
Hopefully, your meeting has gone well by now, and you have the sign-off to begin learning (yay!). This isn’t where the process ends, however. After your course, make sure to show your workplace the value of your new learning. Implement it into your next project, and make sure your manager can see how it has helped you to succeed at your work.
The more that you can show the value of your education, the easier it will be to access it in the future. This applies to you, but also to future employees. After all, the changes you help make today will have an impact on future generations. Who knows, because of you, your workplace might even offer further educational opportunities or resources permanently!
Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardour and attended to with diligence.