Imagine you found a perfect professional development short course that’s not only interesting and challenging but is highly relevant to your aspirational or current role. But then you click through to check out only to find it’s more than you can afford to pay on your own. Well, what if the company you work for can help you pay for it?

We run you through the best ways to approach your company for financial assistance and show them how upskilling employees (as opposed to hiring or contracting new ones) is an investment in both you and the company.

Research where you’ll study

Online business education is booming in South Africa and globally, but not all online learning institutions are created equal. When researching, look for an educational institution that is aligned with industry standards and backed by leading executive and business education providers.

At MasterStart, we offer certified online courses in partnership with industry experts from UCT GSB, WBS, Coventry, and GIBS. Backing by university-partnered programmes will give your employer confidence that they will be paying for quality skills development.

Research your course

It’s important that you come armed with as much information about the course as possible. Your boss is likely to be an expert in the field, and they will ask you pertinent questions. Start by looking at your own skills gaps and evaluate where you’d like to be in five years.

Examples of how to motivate your training

  • If you’re in HR, your company might benefit from having you attend a Human Resource Skills for People Managers course where you can learn how to retain those with critical skills and manage remote and contingent workers.
  • If you work in risk management, you’ll know that South Africa is experiencing several red flag risks, including diminishing power supply, political uncertainty, climate change, and a high cost of living. A course in the Foundations of Risk Management will bring you up to speed on how your company can mitigate these risks.
  • The demand for project managers continues to grow as the global economy becomes more project-oriented. An up-to-date course in Project Management will allow you to streamline your company’s projects and processes.
  • Companies around the world are facing a leadership crisis. You can motivate that improving your leadership skills will help your company grow and segue into the benefits of enrolling in a Leading with Impact online course.

Regardless of what kind of work you do, there is always room for improvement. It’s up to you to find those niche reasons that will convince your boss to pay for your training.

Explain what’s in it for the company

You’ve gone through the exercise in what the course will do for you professionally, but you’ll bolster your argument when you illustrate how the company can benefit. Here are some ideas:

  1. You’ll have fresh insight into strategies to improve existing processes.
  2. You’ll be able to take on new opportunities and add responsibilities to your KPA.
  3. By boosting your work performance, you’ll increase the potential for sales and revenue-building.
  4. You’ll develop impactful leadership skills, gaining new knowledge in your industry and systems.

Playing the win-win card is a strong one. Explaining how your new knowledge can help solve problems in the business or take it to the next level will be hard to resist.

Get into the nitty gritty

How much will it cost?

Nothing will hurt your chances of approval more than not having the numbers, so be sure to have the exact cost breakdown when you start up this conversation. From this, your boss will want to calculate a return on investment (ROI). Get a head start by researching any ROI information associated with your course.

How how long is the course and when are the classes?

Your company will want to know how your studies will impact your job or performance. Explain the time commitment and how you’ll manage it. If it’s an online course, say that you’re willing to follow it over weekends and after hours.

Send an email or request a meeting

If you can set up a meeting, print out and take all your research, costs, course details, and the like with you and leave it with them. If your company prefers to receive requests for training in written format, a professional email is a great way to get the facts in front of your boss and ask for an opportunity to meet. Here’s a customisable email template that you can use to get the conversation going.

Still undecided about exactly what you want to study and how it will help you in your career? Then take a look at our world-class online business, career, and executive development courses for inspiration. And make sure to check out our blogs for some facts about where the world of work is heading. Bosses like facts, so use that to your advantage!