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    « Finding Alternative Funding Options to Pay For Your Career | Main | Tips on Changing Careers »

    Getting Your Employer to Fund and Sponsor Your Studies

    Employer-sponsored programmes allow individuals to advance their career without having to foot the bill. In many cases, employers will pay part or all of an employee’s fees, making it a great way of gaining a relevant qualification that will help your future prospects. What is more, the arrangement works both ways: you get to study for a qualification that will improve your performance and your long-term career progression, and your employer benefits from a more productive and better-motivated employee. However, convincing your employer to fund your study is not always easy. You need to be able to convince them that the qualification you want to undertake is worth investing in. While most graduate employers have a positive commitment to career training and development, much depends on the company you work for.

    But what if your company doesn’t have any sponsored programmes? You may still be able to convince your employer that a further qualification would be advantageous to both them and you, but you will have to make a detailed proposal that clearly demonstrates how both parties will benefit. The first person you should speak to is your line manager, but you should also be prepared to make your case to other senior members of staff. It is important that you show your manager that you have done your research, and that you have identified a range of possible options. Critically, you will need to be able to demonstrate how the qualification will fit into your longer-term career development within the company.

    While postgraduate study is a good way of boosting your career, there are other options, including undertaking shorter courses or studying for membership of a professional body. Many universities are putting more resources into short, continuous professional development programmes, often in conjunction with local employers. If none of the institutions in your area offer the course you are interested in, you may want to consider doing a distance learning course. The Open University, for example, offers a range of professional development programmes. 

    Finally, you may wish to consider taking part in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). KTPs allow graduates to work for up to three years on a project that is central to their strategic development. The programmes are run by commercial companies in partnership with ‘knowledge base’ organisations, including universities and research institutions. In return for taking part, candidates are paid a competitive salary and acquire valuable career experience.

    To find out more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) click here.

    Alice Langley is a Research Assistant at PARN (Professional Associations Research Network). PARN is a not-for-profit, membership organisation for professional bodies. PARN’s main areas of expertise are research and consultancy services, provided not only for our members, but for other professional bodies and organisations interested in the field of professionalism. To contact Alice email

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