A trainer commented to me recently that he would not be attending the Legacy of Excellence Conference in September. The reason was budget cuts did not allow for he and other trainers to attend the conference. Translation – “If the department is not go to pay for me to go. I am not going to attend even though this is an amazing training event and only a 3 hour drive from my home.”
Recently I had a supervisor tell me about one of their trainers who was going to attend theILEETA Conference for the first time this spring. This person had been a full time trainer for a number of years and had been aware of the ILEETA Conference for some time. The supervisors comment was that the trainer had not had the opportunity to attend before. Translation – “The trainer had chosen not to attend the conference until this year as the agency was not going to pay for them to attend in previous years.”
All across North America I hear trainers complain about officers not being willing to train on their own and how that means “we have to start at square 1 every year at training”. In the very next breath I hear many of those same trainers complain that they never get to go to courses or conferences because the agency will not pay for them to attend.
The questions I have for all officers and trainers are simple:
- What are you willing to invest in yourself?
- What course or conference have you attended in the past year, at your own expense, to improve your skills and knowledge?
- What course or conference are you going to commit to attend in the next year, at your own expense, to improve your skills, and knowledge?
If you were to save $2.50 a day and put that money into a training fund that would result in you saving $912.00 a year. That would likely pay for you to attend a conference every year. Depending on travel costs it may pay for a conference every 18 to 24 months. If you shop for seat sales you can likely get a deal on airfare if you have to fly. If you shop around you can likely get a deal on accommodations close to the training event if the host hotel is too expensive. If you find a hotel that has a kitchenette you can save on meal costs. If you share a room with someone else you can save on accommodations. If you know someone who is going and their agency is paying see if you can share a room with them. See if there is any educational or developmental funding available through your agency. Will your supervisor give you the time if you pay your own way? Will the agency pay the registration fee if you pay your expenses? Find out if there is any grant money available at the local or state / provincial level. Are there any community groups that are willing to offer financial assistance. Can you run some type of a fundraising event to raise money for training. Organizations like ILEETA offer scholarships every year so if money is an issue consider applying for a scholarship.
The key is to stop making excuses and start making plans and taking action. Make your personal growth and development a priority. If your agency sees you making the commitment it may influence them to help support you in some way. If your agency does come up with the funding to send you to a course or conference you now have the funds to attend a second one on your own.