Top tips for getting your company to pay for your training
Monday, 25th January 2010
Improving or learning foreign language skills is beneficial not only on a personal level, but also on a professional one too. Whilst a lot of companies can see the benefit of training in this area, some need a little persuasion when it comes to helping fund it...
Managing Director at Cactus, Richard Bradford, offers some useful advice on how to optimise the chances of getting your company or organisation to pay for your language training.
1. Research and identify the course you want before you ask
To help cut down on time, it helps if you can identify the precise type of training that you’re looking for, and get a quote for it/print out a page or two of course outlines, so your boss can see what you’re going to be covering. Pre-empt the likely next question, “have you shopped around?”, by having 2 or 3 quotes at the ready, where you can demonstrate that the one you’re putting forward is the cheapest or best value.
2. Ensure you have checked out any lists of ‘preferred suppliers’
“We have a preferred supplier list – I need to check with that first” may well be a response to expect from your boss or HR representative when you ask. Ensure you’ve already checked it. If your chosen supplier is on the list, all the better. But it might be that for ad-hoc training, this can be organised within your department, and regardless of the official list. The argument that your chosen course is better value, cheaper overall, or that you can organise it all yourself without your boss having to get involved in time-consuming recourse to HR, might well swing it.
3. Try before you buy
With certain training providers, including Cactus, you can opt for a free taster session before you buy to make sure that the course is right for you. This guarantees that the course will be exactly what you need will satisfy any doubts on your employer’s part that the course may not turn out to be suitable, or effective.
4. Know your training budget
Make sure you have an idea of the training budget which has been allocated to you - pitching a course at far too high a cost will be extremely unlikely to get the desired result! Showing that your course/training can be self funding can also be very helpful to your cause - it might be worth looking at the cost of the course, breaking the cost down over weeks, and showing your employer how much of a service/product you’d have to sell in order to pay for the training. Normally showing a cost broken down over the year, or quarter and in relation to how to recoup the investment presents your case much more favourably, as you have considered the commercials of the situation and have shown awareness in that regard.
5. Be clear about your objectives for doing the course
It’s really important that you explain exactly what the course is going to help you to do at work, which currently you are not able to do. Often reasons for wanting to undertake language training include being able to realise international opportunities, to shop around for suppliers internationally, to improve working relations with overseas members of your team/department/company, or to make upcoming foreign travel easier/more effective.
6. Assure them a reasonable timeframe for achieving your goal
One frequent objection to overcome is that with language learning it can seem that you’ll be there forever, and you’ll never be able to improve enough in the relatively short duration of the training course. With Cactus’ tailor-made courses, we focus tightly on the objectives you have, and you really can make excellent progress towards clearly defined goals – for example, meeting and socialising with overseas colleagues, getting much more out of an overseas conference or trade fair, or being able to preface emails and phone calls to overseas clients with a handful of carefully selected phrases. Also, you can possibly remind your boss that you’re not starting from scratch, but that you’re actually building on latent skills from school, and that this course is about reactivating that past knowledge, in a way which is more relevant for the current circumstances.
Interested in language training options with Cactus? Tell us more about why and how you want to learn and we’ll tailor a potential programme and quote to your needs and help with any questions that you have.