One common complaint among IT employees is that companies don't see the value of technical training and certification. Employers might view training time as unproductive or as expensive paid-vacation time for employees. Some companies fear that employees will take advantage of the training budget and use their new skills to land a job elsewhere. That employers are hesitant to spend $1000 to $2000 to send someone out for a week of training isn't surprising. But as a result, employees who work for training-poor companies often face the dilemma of whether to jump ship to find a job that provides training or remain where they are and try to encourage change.

Recently, I attended Windows 2000 Active Directory (AD) training sessions that the instructor taught from the Microsoft training materials but had tailored for our company's computing environment. I quickly realized that this model would be a great way to introduce training classes into a company that didn't have the budget to send staff offsite for training. For us, the custom training course offered several advantages.

For example, we were able to complete the training quickly and efficiently. When we encountered a chapter that didn't apply to our AD implementation, we skipped ahead to the next section. As a result, the instructor had time to drill down into the sections we did cover and discuss details that applied to our environment. The attendees commented that they came away with a good understanding of the subject matter. And if they were committed enough to spend the time, attendees could study the sections we skipped and work toward a certification test.

Onsite training offers great advantages to an employer as well. Structured training gives management confidence that the training is closely aligned with company needs and not an expensive general review. In addition, because the sessions occur at an employer's facility, employees can remain available to address any emergencies that arise. But the big advantage of providing training on site is that a company can use an employee trainer and save a substantial sum.

If you want to try to encourage your company to provide training, consider the following tips:

  • Contact management and suggest a training topic that you could help customize and teach. You can learn a tremendous amount about a topic by teaching it. And by taking the initiative, you might encourage colleagues to teach other subjects.
  • Locate old hardware and set up a test lab for training.
  • Find a data projector or overhead that you can use to present your course content.
  • Gain management approval, then start recruiting students.

From this small start, you might find management will become more responsive to requests for additional training resources and dollars. Good luck!