Human nature sometimes causes us to be dissatisfied with what we have – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ambition and interest in learning can take you a long way in life.
You may dream of the glamour of a high-powered executive position, or simply feel underutilised in your current role, but chances are you’ll need to get some additional training to progress in your career.
While it’s entirely possible to go back to college and study for a different career or a more specialised position. Leaving your job, or just giving up free time in the evenings or at weekends to invest in your future, can be overwhelming, off-putting, or just too much of a burden. Most of us won’t take that step unless we’re encouraged to do so with incentives and support from our current employers.
Even when there’s a company-supported training scheme in place, it can be a challenge to take advantage of it. You might feel as though you don’t have a clear enough idea of what direction you should develop your skills or that keeping up with your current job and the demands of family and home-life are keeping you as busy as you care to be.
Many women don’t take advantage of training schemes offered by employers, and it’s limiting our career opportunities, our earnings, and our freedom.
Here are three reasons you should take advantage of any training that is offered:
It keeps you up to date
The world is changing fast. Jobs, and even entire industries, change within a single generation’s lifetime. Even if your day-to-day work keeps your skills sufficient in your field, if you don’t understand the future of your job and the business sector, you may find yourself highly skilled in something there is no longer a demand for. Use employer-supported training to stay at the front of the pack and to diversify in the most promising directions.
It improves your engagement
Even in the most demanding jobs, it’s easy to get bored after months, years, and indeed, decades doing the same things. Training can help break you out of the daily cycle of work to look at the things you and your company do with fresh eyes, to make better, more strategic and informed decisions about how you work and what you choose to do.
It increases your value
Employers are investing in you when they offer a training scheme. At the same time, the new skills and knowledge that you pick up make you more valuable to competitors and more in-demand when it comes time to search for a new position. You may have a long and happy career ahead at your current company, but it’s always good to keep your options open and have a solid backup plan in place. Take the opportunity to learn, and then trade in that effort for a pay rise, promotion, or new position elsewhere.
There are several training schemes employers choose to offer, and some will be more accessible or valuable others to you than others. The most accessible schemes are when an employer sets aside office time for learning, so you’re not asked to sacrifice personal time. That might involve bringing in speakers over a lunch break, offering a half-day or week to attend a learning session, or designating a recurring block of time for training activities. These situations might involve on or off-site training, and it could be provided live or remotely.
The Knowledge Academy offers flexibility, as well as in-depth training scheme support. The idea situation is where an employer adapts the company’s training scheme to the needs of employees and supports on-going training as part of a regular cycle.
Such organisations also tend to schedule training for a department or the whole company when new skills, technology, and competencies are needed. Employers may encourage you to enter an apprenticeship to upgrade skills as well, which is becoming as much an on-going learning opportunity as it is an entry-level practice.
Alternately, a company might offer a set sum per year for each employee to use against the learning opportunities of his or her choice, which provides flexibility, but also puts more emphasis on the employee’s choices and initiative. That might be more valuable for someone who needs to upgrade a specific skill set lacking on the team or to study for an advanced degree to move into a leadership position.
While it may be tempting to brush aside offers of training opportunities at work, it’s in your best interest to take advantage of whatever scheme is on offer. You may feel it’s an added burden, or not particularly useful in the short term, but over time you’ll find that investing in training improves your work experience, your value, and your access to more career opportunities.