Do you have a training budget? Put it to good use!

door Regina Coeli

As a professional, you know that continuing professional development is a must. It is critical to keep up with the latest in your profession, hone your skills and even broaden your knowledge, whether that be for your current position or to stay competitive in the job market. Many Dutch collective labour agreements contain agreements on personal training budgets for employees. This means that you can request that your employer fund training or education.

According to figures from the AWVN—a Dutch employers’ organisation—training budgets have doubled over the past five years. Previous research has shown that at least 40% of the time, individual training budgets go unused and simply expire at the end of the year. If you work for a Dutch company, make sure you reap the benefits of your training budget.

Dutch employers generally find employee development important. It is not only good for the employee, but also for the organisation, so this is not the reason why a large portion of training budgets sit idle in company bank accounts at the end of each calendar year.

Take initiative

Research has shown that HR managers believe employees should take the initiative to follow training courses and come up with continuing professional development plans for themselves. It also appears that the larger the organisation, the less familiar people are with how they can make use of their training budgets. In short, it seems to be based on lack of familiarity.

So, find out if there are any agreements concerning the training budget in your CAO. In some cases, the budget expires after a number of years, and you may even have a larger, cumulative budget at your disposal. The next step is to come up with a plan:

Step 1: Think about the skills you want to develop
Step 2: Write up a plan for your employer
Step 3: Design your training

Kill two birds with one stone

Step one is figuring out the skills you want to develop. There is an enormous range of training course options out there: Should you choose a technical course, or perhaps one in which you work on personal development, such as leadership, influencing others or assertiveness?

One competence that is increasingly required by Dutch employers is language skills. The demand for knowledge of the Dutch language has risen dramatically in job vacancies. Knowledge of Dutch, English and German come in at the top of the list, but perhaps another language would be more relevant to in your situation.

What not many people know is that when you immerse yourself in another language, you also gain more insight into your personal effectiveness in your own language. Now that is killing two birds with one stone!

Consider for a moment:

  • What languages do I generally need in my line of work?
  • Am I able to use them at a professional level?
  • Would I be able to function better, need less time (e.g. to write emails) or have new opportunities in my organisation with better language skills?
  • What languages are job listings frequently written in for my field of expertise?

What will your development contribute to the company?

Step 2 is about making a plan for your employer:

  • Show that your improved language skills will contribute positively to the company.
  • Demonstrate that you will be able to perform your role better by having better language skills. E.g. you will be more efficient and be able to sort things out yourself instead of having a secretary take care of them.
  • In addition to the financial factor, many employers consider time to be an important asset. If you take a training course, will you take days off for it, or will you gladly sacrifice a weekend to learn a language, for example?
  • Think about where you want to follow a language course and specify it in your plan. If you follow a course at Regina Coeli, for example, the return on your investment will be high, and your employer will know that you are really willing to work hard for it.

Design a training course that suits you

Step 3 is to choose a suitable training programme. When it comes to learning or improving in a language, you can always ask Regina Coeli for help. During your intake conversation with a trainer, it will become clear what you need to work on and how to best do that. Without that valuable feedback, it is very hard to know exactly how to improve your English or German; rarely do we have someone who can and does give us effective feedback when we speak another language. Together with the language trainer, you design an individual plan with clear goals, which you can then submit to your employer.

Whether you use your training budget to improve your skills in a foreign language or for something completely different, whatever you do, do not let that budget go to waste. You may not always necessarily look forward to the extra energy and time needed for professional development, but in the long run, it will always benefit you!

Get to work!

Do you want to improve your skills in a language? Please contact us by either:

  • Filling in the contact form
  • Calling us on +31 (0)73 684 8790

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