Postgraduate student talking to his employer

In certain sectors such as finance, business, education and law, it is often considered necessary for individuals to complete continuing professional development (CPD) courses or pursue further qualifications in order to reach senior level positions.

However, finding the time to take on further study is not an easy feat when you are already working full-time and have competing priorities in your everyday life. You can gain a prestigious qualification from an institution with a strong international reputation, whilst being based anywhere in the world and without having to take a break from your ongoing career.

Another barrier to continuing education can be the cost. With tuition fees, materials and accommodation costs, the idea of starting a degree programme can seem daunting. The option to study fully online programmes enables you to work while you study. You’ll also save on accommodation and relocation expenses. Moreover, your employer may also be able to help with the cost of your programme.

Many employers are aware of the organisational benefits of encouraging professional development amongst their employees, which can include a decrease in staff turnover, strengthened commitment of staff, a reduction in skills gaps by upskilling the workforce and promoting new and improved ways of working. Because of the range of potential benefits, some companies offer employer sponsorship schemes to help towards the costs of programme fees.

The first step to securing employer sponsorship towards your study costs is to identify the level of help that you may need in terms of programme fees and additional costs such as exam fees or study materials.

You’ll then need to check with your company to see if they offer a sponsorship scheme. If not, check with your human resources department to see if there are any funding options that may be available to you. It may be that even if your employer can’t contribute to the cost of your programme, they can support you in other ways such as providing periods of study leave or time off for exam preparation.

If a sponsorship scheme is available, you’ll need to prepare a business case that outlines your intended programme of study and the reasons why the qualification will benefit your role and your organisation. Your chosen programme should contribute to enhancing your knowledge and skillset so that you can take your career further.

When approaching your employer for sponsorship it is important to emphasise the added value that sponsorship can bring to your organisation. You need to be able to clearly demonstrate how they will achieve a return on their investment. These types of projects can often lead to increased profits, cost savings and times savings that ultimately cover the cost of the programme.