Paying for your education usually is done through student loans, grants, and scholarships or out of your own pocket. Many people don’t realize that there is way more options than just the traditional methods of payment. A lot of the times your employer has the ability to offer educational assistance and help foot the bill.
Reasons for Educational Assistance
Many times to help lessen the impact of cost from getting an education, be it a degree, credits, or training program; an employer will assist in paying a full or partial amount of the cost. A great benefit for taxpayers and employees is that often educational assistance is excluded from taxes if they meet certain qualifications.
One of the first orders of business is to check your employee handbook to see what types of offerings they have on employee training. Every individual company is different, but here are the scenarios one could expect.
There is the possibility that there is a set policy that covers paid training, including reimbursement and other out of pocket expenses. On the other end there could be the possibility that the company will come outright and say the do not cover additional training for their employees.
Deciding Factors in Skill-Based Improvement
If there are no guidelines that have already been set up, then you can do some asking and research of your own. First check if any employee has ever had their additional training paid for by the company. Check to see if your employer is willing to pay in something that won’t directly benefit them at first. You’ll have to see what the reasoning and climate was around for the last time there was sponsored training. Perhaps it was company sanctioned or required to move up in the company.
Look into what external resources you can use if you do in fact have the ability to have your payment returned to you. For example the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Certification Training, is a great learning resource that helps employees gain an edge. In the same vein, self improvement courses for management and other knowledge gathering resources are usually a big plus for any type of position at a company.
Making the Case for External Training
Once you know that your company has paid for training in the past or is open to it, and then it is up to you to secure that money for your continued education. You’ll want to make sure your case is solid and all angles have been covered.
The first step is to figure out what the course is and the following criteria behind it. Some of these attributes of the course include curriculum, length, and deadline and most importantly cost. If it is going to be an offsite event, take into account the amount of money paid for traveling and hotel stay.
Your company is going to want to get the best deal for you and for them if they’re going to be spending the money. Make sure to come with a set of alternatives if that one course will not fit in with the overall strategy for the company. Explaining the alternatives is a great way to show your open and flexible to getting the best deal for both parties.
Make sure to list the possible return on investment for not only you but how it benefits the company in the long run as well. Show that it will be beneficial in making you more productive by having more skills and accepting more responsibility in the company. These new skills add new possibilities for the company and having the ability to grow both you and the company.
Some countries have the ability to use these payments from the company as tax credits for the employee’s training. This is a mutual benefit, but it must be considered to be worthy of being a tax write off.
Sealing the Deal
Once you’ve developed enough of a plan then it is up to your management to make a decision. It is important throughout the whole time to emphasize how important this personal development will lead to being a better asset in the overall company plan. After all it is the employees that make up a successful company. If you’re meeting or exceeding performance marks then you’re more likely to land something out of a push like this. The worst that could happen is your company says no, simply try later now that you’ve opened up the doors.
Alfie Wilkinson maintains and schedules employee training. He enjoys writing about this topic in his articles which appear online at business blogs as well as career / self improvement sites.