I am an IT managerwith three years' IT experience. I am a "good all rounder" but I do not have any recognised certification. I work for a firm employing 300 people, which is part of a massive telcoms group. The company refuses to spend money on training. I am willing to learn new technology so I can move to an employer that invests in people. Waht advice can you give me on how I should go about it?
Look at taking an NVQ or a degree
Employers are increasingly looking for professionals with a diversity of business and technical skills, so it is encouraging that you have all-round skills. This gives you the adaptability to change roles when necessary. Many employers I talk to do not purely focus on what level of technical ability a candidate has when applying for a job, and skills such as project management are always in demand.
However, as you recognise, all-round skills although desirable do not fully compensate for the need to gain technical, supplier-specific qualifications. Unfortunately, due to the state of the market, some employers, like your own it would seem, are increasingly tightening their purse strings when it comes to investing in training and skills development.
I understand your frustration at this and suggest that you look at what courses are being offered by local educational establishments. If you research carefully, it is possible to find courses, such as NVQs or foundation degrees, that include elements of supplier-specific and recognised training. Effectively this means you are getting the best of both worlds: industry-recognised, supplier-specific training and the all-round understanding that is provided by academic courses.
Something I am sure you are aware of, but always worth considering, is that no matter how much or how little training an employer provides, everybody's personal development is driven by the individual and perseverance and motivation are vital to continual improvement.
Your employer has a responsibility to help you improve your skills and even if it does not openly offer training as part of the company policy, it is always worth asking if it would send you on a course or give you time out to develop skills for yourself, especially if you have an interest in acquiring a particular skill that is relevant to a current or future project.
Solution by Terry Watts, E-Skills UK
The panel: MSB International, Best Internationa, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Computing, Zarak Technology, E-Skills UK
This was first published in March 2003