Picking up qualifications on the job can benefit bosses and employees alike. Despite this, asking a manager for study support is something that often strikes fear into many staffers.
Here, Stacey Sykes, tax manager at Smith Cooper in Derby, gives us a step-by-step guide on how to approach the discussion
How to approach your boss
If you want to study while on-the-job, email or ask your manager if it’s possible to chat about it in your next catch-up meeting. If this isn’t possible, schedule a 30-minute meeting or video-call (if working remotely) in their diary. Make sure you do it in advance, so the manager can do any prep beforehand. Also, email your boss (or their PA), instead of ambushing them when they’re rushing off to a meeting!
How to prepare for the meeting
Do some research on the qualification that you intend to study. Unless your manager has recently studied AAT, they’re unlikely to have an in-depth knowledge of the syllabus and exam structure. Having that information at hand in the meeting would be really useful. You don’t need to give your boss a formal presentation or write a proposal, but try to think of questions that they may ask.
Prepare answers for the following questions…
Your boss may ask questions such as:
- What qualification do you want to study?
- Why do you want to study this particular qualification?
- What is the structure/syllabus of the course that you want to study?
- How much time will you need to spend away from the office in order to study/revise?
- How long will the course take?
- What benefit will this qualification bring to your current role?
How to come across in the meeting
If a company is going to support your training, they’ll need to see a commitment from your side. They don’t want to think you’re choosing to study on a whim.
Remember, the boss is on your side!
If a manager has somebody in their team that’s keen to study, it shows they’re committed to development and progression within the company, which can only be a good thing. Most bosses understand that studying will make you more valuable to the company, so don’t feel nervous – you have nothing to lose.
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