Professional training programs provide opportunities for employees to refine skills, learn new capabilities, and perhaps most often, expand their networks of influential people. Whether you pursue internal or external programs, they provide a unique opportunity to apply newly-learned skills and processes immediately, appropriating them as needed for the demands of your role.

Here’s how to find professional development training that will advance your career, from finding the best training right through to completion.

Make it tailored and accredited

If you’re serious about improving your skills and participating in a program that aids your progression, you’ll need to make them complement your role. Here are some tips to define the training you need:

  • Make a list of the skills you have and areas of your role you feel you’re excelling in
  • Compare this with your KPIs and role description: are there areas you could improve on? What are the key competencies you need to advance?
  • Commence your research, using as many resources as possible. Look for professional training programs that specify in the skills you need and are recommended by certified boards, professional organisations or reliable people in your network.
  • Select three to five training programs that vary in cost, length and provider, but have the same outcomes at their core. Providing your employer with options will show them you’re serious and well-researched.

When you’ve established the professional training program that’s best for you, be sure to research the course type thoroughly, comparing with other available course providers. Always choose accredited courses or training programs that offer the highest standard of information, resources and support.

Prove that professional development training is valuable for the company

Whether you’re eager to attend an interstate IT conference, sign-up to a leadership training course, or hoping to participate in the CPA program, your employer will need evidence that it is beneficial to you and the wider business. Consider these elements and make the decision an easy one for your employer:

You’ll possess a unique and exceptional skillset

Insist that by participating in training you’re developing or refining a unique set of skills that makes you a high-achieving and attractive employee. You’ll be able to do your job more efficiently as well as compete with the best from your industry.

Knowledge can be shared with your team

Assure your manager that you’ll take notes and share any resources provided with your team once the training is complete. Maybe you could even run a short debrief session, detailing what you learned and how it could be applied in your organisation? Sharing the benefits of professional training programs will make employers feel that any money and staff hours invested were worthwhile.

Training can increase engagement and job satisfaction

The more you learn, the better you’ll be at your job. The better you are at your job, the more complicated and challenging tasks you can take on. The more you take on, the better equipped you are to progress, seeking out greater responsibility and more senior roles. If you’re challenged and achieving, you’re also more likely to be satisfied in your role, and contented by how the organisation operates.

Development programs attract the best talent

Companies with strong professional development training opportunities are likely to be known for this, and be sought out by top talent. Remind your manager of this, citing examples you may have found in your research, insisting that improved training opportunities help promote a positive employer brand and reputation.   

Choose training programs aligned to your organisation’s direction and values

Do your research and present training options that align to where your company is headed, and the principals they stand for. If you work for a small finance firm focused on expansion, then find training that specialises on growth, or that has experienced impressive growth itself. If you’re employed by a customer service provider that is known for its equal opportunity and promotion of diversity, seek out the same in your training program.

Proving to your manager that there is value in professional development training is critical, whether your organisation has a history of offering great development opportunities or you’re making an inaugural proposition. If the evidence stacks up in your favour, you can be confident you’ll get your request across the line.

Be willing to compromise

Just like asking for a pay rise, it’s important to be adaptable and to have alternative plans prepared when asking to undertake professional development opportunities. Present several options for the development you desire, and be prepared to negotiate, ensuring the training never compromises the duties your role demands. 

If your employer won’t endorse or pay for your professional development, then consider pursuing it independently. If you do, note down how it was structured and how it benefited your work, then share with your manager. This approach shows initiative but will also exhibit the success of professional training programs, increasing the likelihood of success next time you ask.

Professional development comes in many different forms, and there’s an abundance of programs available to suit your needs, role and industry. The key is sharing the potential you see in the training with your manager, so that they feel confident it’s a valuable investment. It will also help them understand that supporting your plan is an investment for the whole organisation – and what employer wouldn’t want that?

Take a look at our career development hub for more career tips and advice.