Career advice

How to make time for further training and courses

Continuing education pays off, but you need to plan it well in advance. Here, career counsellor Morten Esmann offers 4 steps to find time and room for further education in your daily life.

The road to hell, as we all know, is paved with good intentions, and that goes for continuing education too. We all want to go on a course, but the timing is just bad at the moment. Perhaps we have too many tasks on a daily basis and, besides, can't find any relevant courses.

In IDA's 2021 salary statistics, 83 per cent of private sector members responded that 'work pressure and busyness' had an impact on their not completing the skills development they wanted.

In second place, with 64%, a 'lack of initiative' from members themselves barred them from taking up training or courses.

It's all too easy to give up on training, but while it may seem like the easy solution in the short term, it can present more challenges in the long run.

Because if you don't develop professionally, you could end up losing both job satisfaction and job security.

Here are 4 good reasons to prioritise training

Here's career counsellor Morten Esmann's take on how to prioritise training if you have the energy and support from your manager, but struggle to find the time and space in your calendar.

Set aside time in your calendar for continuing education

When you're busy at work and in your daily life, it can be hard to find the time and energy for continuing education.

That's why you need to plan well in advance - preferably several weeks or months in advance. That way, you can find time to prepare and attend the course before your calendar is full of tasks, or you and your manager can figure out what to do with your tasks while you're on the course.

A good starting point is to find an interesting course that is far enough in the future that you have room in your calendar. It varies from a few weeks to six months, but patience pays when it comes to finding training.

Agree on how to plan further training and courses

It is a good idea to make an agreement with your manager for the whole period you are away on a course. This way, the benefits gained and the planning of your workflow will be clearer for both of you.

For example, you can make a table with the following points:

  • Which course you would like to attend
  • What you learn on the course
  • What positive impact the course has on the workplace
  • What tasks you can't do while you're at work
  • How your tasks will be done while you are away
  • What new tasks you will have to do after the course.

That way, you'll both have an easier time seeing whether a particular course is relevant, so you don't waste your time. Because while learning is exciting in itself, it's bad for your motivation if you come back bubbling over with new knowledge and tools that you never get to put into practice.

By making a concrete agreement, you are also sure that you and your manager are in agreement about your training.

Make sure you use your new knowledge

When you return from your course, everyday life quickly returns and you easily fall back into old routines and forget the new things you've learned. 

Therefore, it may be a good idea to spend a little time after the course to share with your manager and colleagues what you have learned in the training. This way you keep the focus on implementing your new insights in your daily work.

At the same time, you need to be ready to take the initiative to use your new skills. Even if you've been very conscious of the fact that you've been on a course, your manager and colleagues may only have noticed because they've been busy with their usual tasks while you've been away.

One way to take the initiative is to find the plan you made with your manager before the training and remind him or her of the tasks you were supposed to do.