Blog entry by Seán Lea
How should you ask your employer for education funding?
Many employees deem their success at work would improve if they were given the opportunity to develop their knowledge and receive additional training. Yet, there’s a possibility that a number of them don’t feel confident about speaking to their employer and asking them for education funding. Maybe they don’t think this is an appropriate thing to ask, or they simply believe that their employer would disagree. The truth is, those employees whose development has been invested in by their workplace often show both higher levels of productivity and well-being – bringing benefits to both themselves and the business.
So, what’s the best way to approach your employer? Is there a particular right or wrong way of asking for education funding? It’s true there are a few things to bear in mind. The following guide aims to answer this by proving some useful hints and tips on the issue.
Do your research
Take time to learn about the education area that you want to go into before speaking to your employer. With many training and education providers, you’ll find that there is a range of courses and options available. From night courses to part-time degrees, to higher apprenticeships (find the list of providers here, including one of our sponsors, Accipio), you can find a course that will fit nicely around your work/life balance.
Some people believe that university is their only option when looking to go into further education, but this isn’t the case. Speak to your local college and visit their website to see what they have to offer — it’s likely that they run a course related to your field or around a topic that you’re interested in.
Demonstrate your flexibility
Show your employer how training can be flexible in fitting around your job. Again, this is all about doing your research and demonstrating to your boss that there are flexible courses out there – designed for workers like you!
Were you aware that you can actually be examined on-the-job to achieve your qualification? This means that you wouldn’t be sacrificing any working hours for exams and your ability to complete tasks at work shouldn’t be affected.
Have a word your local college or learning centre for a comprehensive list of modules and assessment methods for whichever course you wish to apply for.
What are the benefits?
Completing additional training has the potential of bringing a wide array of benefits for not only yourself but for your employer too.
Widening your knowledge could help to fill in a gap in the business where this knowledge may be absent. You can then share with your colleagues. It’s also possible that after your training, you could be bringing in financial benefits for the business, for example, if it means they don’t have to employ somebody else to fill a role or an external company to pick up that area of work. Think about what your new qualification could allow you to do and present this to your employer when asking the question.
For the majority of employers, it is important that their employees are satisfied in their jobs. Let your employer know what this training would mean for you. Will it make you feel more confident in your role? Or, more valued and empowered? If so, express these feelings to your boss.
Provide the necessary information
Make sure that your employer has all of the information required for them to make an informed and fair decision. This allows them to fully review all the information at a later date and saves them from doing the in-depth research themselves.
What kind of information should be covered? Module overviews, assessment methods, course testimonials and information about websites or open days would all be useful. With these, they can find out more if they want to.
It’s also worth noting that when undertaking further education, there’s a certainty that you’ll have to give up some free time as well. Make sure your employer knows the sacrifices you are willing to make to improve your performance at work.
Check out the Apprenticeship Levy Scheme
Since 2017, employers with an annual wage bill of greater than £3 million have been required to pay the equivalent of 5% of this bill into a fund known as the Apprenticeship Levy. This money can be subsequently claimed back by the company to fund further education training such as management apprenticeships and leadership qualifications such as those accredited by ILM and CMI. It’s therefore definitely worth checking if your employers are part of the scheme – if they are, it effectively costs no extra to put you through the training and provides widespread benefits for both you and your employers!
Reflect on the above if and when you decide to approach your employer for educating funding. Don’t be afraid to ask the question — you and your employer can both enjoy the many benefits.
This post was written in collaboration with James Pakefield and the Newcastle College Adult Learning Department. James is an Outreach Executive at Mediaworks Online Marketing and covers a number of clients across a wide range of business sectors, helping them to grow their online portfolios through engaging content