My employer has agreed to pay for me to do a qualification. Which one should I take?
More employees are increasingly saying to their bosses that they want financial support to develop skills as part of their overall pay packet.
The problem is that in many cases employers have been slow to wake up to the idea that by developing their best talent, they have more chance of hanging on to it.
The first question is, what do you want from a qualification? Is it independent endorsement of the skills you already have, or the opportunity to learn something new?
Some qualifications look for evidence of what you have achieved during your working life while others provide teaching before testing knowledge in an exam.
Most bosses value professional qualifications, such as diplomas and NVQs. They see these as driving productivity, boosting the professional reputation of their organisation and attracting new, quality staff.
Consider how a qualification can fit in with your life. If you are working full time, you may wish to explore the option of evening classes or part-time courses.
Your employer may be willing to give you time off to study, making the part-time course a viable option. Check out local college websites.
People often seem to be put off doing a qualification because they think it takes too long. Yet completing something like a degree-equivalent qualification in management and leadership can be done with about two hours of study a week.
More workers are taking on what has been termed ‘portfolio careers’ – in other words they don’t stay in one industry for their working life.
Experience counts for a great deal, but at the same time if you have a qualification that is as relevant to one sector as it is to another, you are more likely to stand out from the crowd.