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Ongoing Learning- Time to Grab the Bull by the Horns

What happens if your Chief Executives are not interested in maintaining a training budget? Promotions and salaries are only two factors in an organizationís retention strategy. You must show employees that you support their career path, otherwise theyíll seek employment elsewhere when the job market grows.

In todayís volatile economy, some employers feel that employees should be satisfied that they can maintain their jobs, forget about additional training or professional development. So what are you supposed to do? Do you stop learning because there is no corporate budget to take programs or professional development sessions?

Nathaly Pinchuk,
Executive Director
A recent survey by Accountemps polling more than 270 CFOís from Canadian companies with 20 or more employees showed that 54% of the CFOís interviewed said that they plan to increase investment in professional development and training in order to retain employees. With improving economic conditions, the job market will open up and retention needs to be a primary concern. Eliminate the risk of losing top performers and your competitive edge and allocate some funds towards training.

Now is the time to take matters into your own hands. If employers cannot afford to provide the necessary training so that you can enhance your skills and knowledge, do it yourself! Set aside a small budget for programs, investigate and learn.

Take a look at management development programs available in the marketplace. Pay attention to whether they are accreditation programs or certificate programs or skills refreshers. You will get more bang for your buck with accreditation programs. Look at methods of study. If you canít get away from your office to take the programs, can you learn at home on your own time? With online training, do you have to devote certain times of the week for online tutorials or can you study completely at your own pace? Is there an examination at the end of the program or merely a completion certificate? Find out if you must allocate time and go to another location to take the exam or if you can do it on your own. Itís not just a question of budget but the course material and length of time required to complete. Does the course involve 300 hours or 30 hours to complete? Factor in how much free time you can devote to the program you are taking.

Once you have determined which program you are interested in and have investigated it, donít procrastinate- get it done! Once you have successfully passed, you can then advise your managers and senior executives that you took this program on your own in order to keep on top of your industry. In many cases, when training budgets can be altered, participants will get reimbursed for the cost of the program and congratulated on taking the initiative!

Even though you are paying for the program yourself, a number of educational institutions such as IPM provide tuition receipts which can be used for income tax at the end of the year. If your organization canít afford to give you the training you need, purchase it on your own and keep the tuition receipt for tax purposes.

Educational institutions such as IPM that specialize in adult education believe that you donít have to pay thousands of dollars or spend hundreds of hours obtaining new skills and information. Offering a wide variety of affordable products including both accreditation and certificate programs that can be done in the comfort of your home at your own pace has resulted in a remarkable increase in the number of individuals purchasing programs. Take the leap and reap the benefits. Donít get lost in the crowd!


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