Study further - and make your boss pay for it!

You can convince your employer to pay for your next academic course

Use these techniques to convince your boss to foot the bill for your next academic course.

If you’re itching to advance your career further but you don’t have the time or the money to attend a tertiary institution, there is an easy solution: register for an online course!

There are no in-the-class visits or lectures you need to physically attend, and you can complete all assignments after hours – at a time that suits you.

You can convince your boss to pay for a suitable online short course like the kind Educate24 and Udemy offer. Since doing an online course could benefit your company too, it should have no qualms about paying for it. Your company should offer training to its employees, so view this as a different way of doing the same thing, except in a different flavour. 

But before we get you in front of your boss, you should get all your ducks in a row.

1. Find your boundaries

Walk over to your HR department and ask what the company's usual deal is with regards to course costs. Let them explain to you what processes and procedures are in place for employee courses and training, e.g. does the company usually reward employees by paying for academic advancement? How does one apply for these bursaries? What kinds of courses are usually approved for funding? What percentage of the cost is usually covered? Is there a minimum requirement to apply? Also ask them to walk you through the normal application process.

If possible, find out if any of your co-workers have completed an online course before and ask them to share their experience with you. You never know what you might learn from them too.

2. Choose wisely

Research the course, its modules and ensure that they’re aligned to your company’s objectives. Make sure that the due dates, screen time and times for tests do not interfere with your work schedule - especially if it will annoy your boss.

Remember, you must be able to defend your choice: How will this particular course complement your current role or any future role you might hold? How will learning these specific skills affect your work performance positively?

3. State your case

Armed with enough information to build a strong case, send your boss a meeting request. While you relay the ifs, whys and becauses, be sure to keep the company's bottom line in mind; They think they're spending (and wasting) money on you.

You'll have to show them that actually, they're only investing in you. The returns you could potentially bring are great:

Why it's okay for your boss to pay:

- You'll be a more valuable employee with all that new information.

- You’ll be able to perform even better after completing the course.

- You'll be able to share your new knowledge with your co-workers, leading to a more productive environment

- They won't have to go through the expensive process of hiring someone new. You'll be able to execute new duties.

- Since your course will be industry-related, you may discover the untapped potential in your company and find ways that will make it operate more efficiently.

- You're an ambitious employee with amazing potential. If you are to stay at the company, they should want you to grow your skill-set.

- This course may improve the company’s professional image in more ways than one.

4. Seal the Deal

Offer to contribute a portion of your salary. Before you freak out, this act of faith alone could convince your boss to pay for everything.

This will make your boss see that you’re personally invested in learning new skills and upping your game – and not trying to milk the company for something you’re not completely committed to. (Don’t forget to emphasize that you’ll be doing it completely after hours so it will not affect your current work schedule at all.)

If you package your research, the pros (and only the one con, i.e. the money), as well as the emphasise 'for the betterment of the company' then your boss will realise, with an oh em gee, that you're right. If they do not, then it may be time to find a boss who does.