5 Wise Ways To Spend Your (personal) training budget

More and more businesses are recognising the importance of learning and development, both as a direct way to achieve better business outcomes, but also to increase staff satisfaction and retention. It’s a wise move: according to research by IBM, companies who use e-learning tools can boost productivity by up to 50%, with a whopping $30 boost for each $1 spent. Which means that if you are an employee who’s keen to develop professionally, you’re in a great position to take advantage of your employer’s training budget.

Step 1: Ask for a training budget (if you don’t have one already)

To spend your training budget, you’ve got to have on in the first place. If your company doesn’t explicitly set aside an allowance for personal training, why not ask your manager or the relevant contact in HR for a contribution towards it? To make your request more effective:

  • Justify a few key points on why it would help you to do your job more effectively.
  • Be as specific as you can about what you’re planning on spending the money on (eg a certain course)
  • Set timescales for when you’d like to have done the training by, to show your commitment.

It’s also a good idea to follow up with your manager after the training takes place, so they can appreciate its value – and hopefully help them realise it was a worthwhile investment.

Step 2: Spend your budget

So, you think you can successfully pitch a training idea to your management. Or perhaps you’re lucky enough to be employed by a company who has ringfenced some funding for career development and you just need it signed off. Either way, you may be wondering how best to spend the allowance. Here are 5 ideas to get you started…

01 – Professional Qualifications

An obvious use of your training budget would be to put it towards a professional qualification with a recognised awarding body. The benefits: it’s easily recognisable on a CV, is likely to provide quality, standardised training that can be applied to your job, and could help you reach the next step in your career. However, be warned: not only are professional qualifications often expensive, but they can be a big commitment, requiring a range of modules and exams.

02 – Digital skills

Whether you work in the digital sector or not, digital skills are becoming increasingly more valued. Learning how to hone your data analysis skills, how to design and edit web pages, or how to work better with the software programmes used in your role, could all provide a boost to your productivity. With many of these courses taken online, they have never been more accessible. Many are also good value too (but do your research to ensure quality control).

03 – Communication skills

Communication skills have always been essential in business, and with automation around the corner, the ‘human’ aspect of the job is more important than ever. Presentation, relationship building skills, management, leadership, and networking skills are highly important in any job – not just sales. These types of courses are often more face to face or coaching led, which can be expensive but packed with value.

04 – Sector specific knowledge

If you’re newer to the industry, or your career goal is to become a subject matter expert, then a good option for you could be to develop your sector specific knowledge by focusing on a niche, via specialised training courses or programmes. Hopefully, this will expand your career horizons by making you a more desirable candidate for roles in your industry.

05 – Something a bit different: teambuilding

Feeling adventurous? You could get together with some colleagues and invest your budget in teambuilding activities. While strictly speaking this may not be learning and development, building stronger relationships between colleagues is going to help everyone be more productive and enjoy their time at work. There’s many activities to choose from; treasurehunts, escape rooms, quizzes, sports events and more. Factoring in a more traditional element alongside teambuilding will help keep it relevant as well as fun.