Match your study choice to your pocket, and to what the market needs

As soon as you can, add further studies as a permanent item to your personal budget. Because sooner or later you are going to need monies to either improve your own skills and knowledge or to finance a child's further studies, says Natalie Rabson of Boston City Campus and Business College. "All eyes were on our finance minister yesterday as he announced the nation's budget for the year," she comments.
"But we should all take the cue to reassess our own personal and household budgets to make provision for further studies." There is a worldwide trend towards continuous professional development, which makes it imperative for each of us - regardless of occupation to update our skills and knowledge on a regular basis if we wish to remain relevant in the workplace. "Technology keeps changing so that we no choice but to up skill, every now and then - and this from the highest to lowest level," Rabson adds.

"Medical practitioners are required to update their skills annually so they can earn points and keep their professional registration; attorneys need to know about legal development and IT workers need to learn about the newest software packages. Much of the skills development bound to take place as a normal day's work and employers will carry the cost most of the time, but individuals can expect to have to invest in their own professional development, especially if they harbor high ambitions.

"You can expect to have to complete a short course here, attend workshop there, enroll for a module or two," she says. "Given the cost of studies, it is wise to set aside a monthly amount towards further study. That way you or your children will not have to borrow money or turn down the opportunity for further training when it arises."

Remember too, that even if you have saved for further study you should be discerning when selecting a course that best suits your career aspirations and stage in life. Rabson suggests you consider the following before deciding:
  • Is there a demand for the skills and knowledge that the course will help you acquire? Find out whether employers hold the qualification in high regard and whether the course is accredited by the relevant bodies.
  • Does the course have long-term benefits? Can you use it as a basis that you can add other modules and subjects onto so you can climb the educational ladder?
  • Does it impart skills that you can use immediately to find a position if you're a job seeker or to get a better position at the company you're currently employed at?
  • Will the qualification lead to meaningful employment in a short period of time or does it offer long-term prospects? And how does that match with the situation you are in at the moment? It follows that if you need a job with urgency, you should enroll for a qualification that provides for your priority needs.
  • Does the qualification leads to good prospects or have you been blinded by the glamour that surrounds the profession or industry that you are eyeing? Have a closer look to establish what the job entails in a real workplace situation.
Look at the reputation and accreditation of the institution which you wish to enroll for tuition. To calculate how much you should budget for on a monthly basis could be a little tricky: you need to think hard about your career and where you'd like to take it. Then only can you form an idea of the type and amount of training you will need to reach your career goals. Once you have a rough idea, contact the relevant college to find out what the fees are for the course you have in mind as the brochure or website may not be up to date. Further study often involves more than the cost of the course you registered for, so include cost of books, stationery, travelling food and accommodation.

Special assignments and field trips also need to be added; the tertiary institution should be able to give you an indication of such costs. Once you have the total cost, you can divide for career growth in the future. "After all that's what is for," Rabson points out. "A disciplined way of spending our monies so we can cover day -to-day living expenses but also allow us to reach our dreams and desires."

  • Boston City Campus and Business College offers over 80 dynamic career qualifications throughout 48 branches nationwide.Unisa degrees and media studies are also available at selected branches. Contact Boston on 011 551 2000, e-mail or catch up with Boston students on Facebook.

7 Mar 2011 11:36