When you have a busy professional life, it is easy to fall behind on your professional training.
There are always tasks that are more pressing than spending time on a course, and before you know it, years have passed since you last updated your competences.
However, if you neglect upgrading your skills, you are missing out on lots of positive benefits, as well as putting yourself at risk of lagging behind the professional developments in your field.
Professional training and courses takes time away from your normal tasks, and you should therefore make a plan for covering them while you're away or when you come back. Read much more about this here (in Danish).
Below, career counsellor Morten Esmann gives you four good reasons for taking a continuing training course and simple advice on how to find the time.
Research shows that taking on new challenges affects your job satisfaction positively. Although familiar routines are comforting, security quickly turns into boredom, and lack of stimulation can increase the risk of becoming ill with stress. At the same time, our identity tends to be bound up with our job - and if you think your job is boring, you can quickly come to think the same of yourself.
This is why it is important to experience new challenges throughout one's work life, and continuing education is a good way to start. In a major study by Think Tank DEA, more than one in three participants in a continuing training course stated that the course contributed professional stimulation, personal development and the desire for more training. Even more importantly, more than one in two experienced that courses and training has increased their job satisfaction and well-being as well as their sense of job security.
In other words: consider which direction you want for your career and plan accordingly - also if you are pleased with the state of things as they are now.
If you want a higher salary, you need to take on more responsibility or be able to solve new kinds of tasks. That's why it is a good idea to look into courses and continuing training when you dream of a salary increase.
In the DEA survey, 49% responded that their salary increased after their skills upgrade - presumably because they have become qualified to assume a new role or new kinds of tasks.
If your primary motivation for taking a course is to get a salary increase, it pays to be strategic. Look into which competences are most valued at your workplace and in the job market in general and use these insights when deciding which course to take.
In a recent survey, IDA found that the most effective way for members to increase their salary is to change jobs, and upgrading one's skills is often a springboard to a better job.
Your job security should come from your professional skill set - not your current employment.
In a recent survey from IDA among 1,274 members in employment in Denmark, 1 in 3 respond that they need competency development to keep up with developments in their field. In the STEM fields, where most IDA members are employed, developments happen at a fast pace, so if you do not develop your knowledge, you risk that it becomes outdated.
This is not likely to happen overnight, but our career counsellors talk to members who deter upgrading their skills until they are standing on a burning platform - and by then it might be too late.
Many IDA members have a hard time asking for a course in personal development.
It can be more difficult to acknowledge that you need better communication or conflict management skills than that you need an upgrade of your technical competencies.
But we cannot shed our personality at the door when we enter the office, so your personal characteristics influence your ability to do your job. No matter how talented you are as a specialist, you will be at a disadvantage if you have a difficult time collaborating or voicing your opinion in the workplace.
If you think of personal development as part of your professional development rather than a flaw in your character, it might make it less sensitive to ask for.
IDA-members can book a career counselling session and discuss their professional life with one of our work life experts.