DEAR CAREER ANGEL: I want to take a course but I don't think my boss will pay

A technologically-challenged manager wants to get his coding skills up to scratch - but how does he persuade his company to shell out?

by Penny Davenport
Last Updated: 26 Nov 2013
Dear Career Angel,

I would like to improve my SQL skills. SQL isn’t directly relevant to my core role as a manager but it would be useful at times as my team are mostly proficient. SQL is also a transferable skill and this topic is on my mind at the moment. How do I convince my boss to pay for a course I have found which takes place on a Saturday next month?

John, N Ireland

Dear John,

Congratulations for keeping an eye on your transferable skills, and also trying to keep up with your team. In the good old days, companies were willing to pay for training left, right and centre but times are tougher and non-essential training is one of the first things to go.

First of all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get – so raise the subject with your boss at a time when he/she is likely to be most open to the suggestion. Prepare your list of benefits to the company (stronger team oversight, better data quality and reporting etc) and if you can, go as far as to prepare a return on investment (ROI) or cost / benefit analysis.

Explain why this is the right course and how it offers value for money. You say you are going to give up your free time so this is a point to highlight. Can you train other people with the skills you learn? Have a back up plan if your boss declines to pick up the tab. Can you offer to pay for your travel and expenses? Would you be willing to pay for half the cost of the course? This shows a serious commitment to your company but also as an investment towards your objective of improving your transferable skill set.

Good Luck!

Career Angel

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