Many employees have already learned the critical importance of keeping up with their education while pursuing opportunities in their current field of employment. Continued learning and development [1] offers many advantages: not only does increased employee knowledge and skills have the potential to lead to cost savings for companies, it also allows individuals to stay at the top of their field, advance into new positions, and even create new opportunities for innovation.

Many people, however, struggle to decide how to go about going back to school or increasing training and development. Should they consider adult night courses? Is an in-house training and development opportunity the right choice? We’ve outlined some of the options available to employees below:

Employer-Sponsored Learning Opportunities

Many employers offer learning opportunities that make it easier for their employees to improve their knowledge in a given field and increase their competence and capability. As an employer, consider what opportunities to learn and gain new skills you give to your workforce currently and consider:

1. Tuition Reimbursement

Many employers provide incentivisation for their employees to train and get certified through tuition reimbursement. This essentially means a free opportunity to learn and grow. Traditionally you might want the training they receive to be specific and immediately transferable to your business/industry. However, sometimes employees can learn useful skills from qualifications that may not seem immediately relevant to your field which can help bring another dimension to their role. This could include general business classes, project management, Agile training or leadership courses.

2. Seminars and Conferences

Your industry likely has several annual seminars and conferences–some close to you, others spread across the country or even across the continent. By attending those events, your employees will develop knowledge about the current trends within the industry and make connections who can help in the future. Many employers sponsor these training opportunities.

3. In-House Training

As not all employers are set up to be able to support paid external training or qualifications, the option of in-house training can be a more cost-effective way of improving your employees’ skillsets. You can look to connect employees with mentors or offer company-wide training sessions that help expand their knowledge.

Personal Training Opportunities

Individuals can always pursue training on their own, regardless of whether their employer is able to support them in this regard. It may well be the case that the business does not see enough value for them to financially support a certain qualification being undertaken externally for example. In this case, personal training can help employees overcome weaknesses [2] and show their capability in new ways–and in the process, it can open all sorts of doors. People can pursue certifications or take time off to attend seminars and conferences on their own for example:

1. Attending Adult Night School

Night school for adults offers the opportunity to attend classes at a time that is convenient with your work schedule. If you need to be at the office during the day or have limited flexibility in the hours you can work, then evening courses through night school for adults are a great way to pursue learning and development opportunities without cutting into your hours at work. Night schools will also give individuals exposure to other working professionals from all sorts of areas/backgrounds so can help with expanding professional networks [3].

2. Flexible Learning Opportunities

If as an employer, you are not able to offer your employees time off to work on their studies, it may be harder for them to effectively pursue an education. Flexible learning opportunities can be the solution here as they will often allow people to work at their own pace. When employees have a little more time, they can spend more time on their studies. When short on time, those classes can wait for a little while.

Going back to school as an adult can be daunting. By continuing to explore learning and development opportunities, however, you can expand your overall knowledge and make it easier to achieve your professional goals.

[1] https://www.docebo.com/blog/learning-development-important/

[2] https://2020projectmanagement.com/resources/project-management-training-and-qualifications/the-importance-of-training-and-development-in-the-workplace

[3] https://www.vistacollege.edu/blog/resources/pros-and-cons-of-night-classes/

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