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Interesting question. You may reply that your employer keeps you up to date with industry developments, legal and practice changes that influence or dictate how you work. That is, indeed, training. But I am not writing about training to which you are directed on pain of death. I am writing about self-directed, self-financed (if necessary) and possibly self-interested education. I am referring to off-the-job training.

There are countless options for most of us to learn something that isn’t job-related – for example, we might decide to learn to play a musical instrument, to scrapbook (now a verb as well as a noun), to reorganise flowers or to cook. Community Education is a big area. And I recommend you do some research about that.

But available through the same route, but more competence-focused, are courses provided outside your work but which would enhance your ability to do that work.

No, I have no odea what that might be – I’m not in your industry.

But let me provide my example. I was a serving police detective, but outside of that I trained as a legal executive (lawyer) for 4 years, obtained a qualification that allowed me to teach adults in further education, and di other courses related to both of those. They weren’t provided by, nor funded by my employer – I funded part of it, grants funded the rest. Ker-ching!

On the face of it you may ask what legal training in probate law, land law and contract law had to do with policing, but I assure you the benefits to me as a Fraud Detective were amazing – the number of cases I could deal with because of that knowledge rose, as did the number of cases we passed back to complainants. Cases passed back because we knew they were trying it on – for example, solicitors, rather than dealing with a probate dispute, would point their clients at the police and scream ‘FRAUD!’ so that we would get all the evidence and they could use it having had it gathered gratis. I, on the other and, could show why it wasn’t a fraud (at least at that point) and make a perfectly good legally-sound argument for that decision. And we had one man alleging a commercial fraud that I sent back pretty much annually for 10 years because I knew about contracts while not one of my colleagues had the foggiest.

The Second Resolution states:  “To overcome the restraining forces of pride and pretension, I resolve to work on character and competence.”

Competence in the workplace is obviously covered by that statement, but I argue that such competence can extend, indeed should extend outside one’s professional obligations. In fact, I suggest it should include your societal and familial obligations, too.

Be a better citizen, be a batter parent, be a better child. It’s all there in that simple sentence. Be (character) a better (competence).

There are many facilities available for training, and in areas you might thing weren’t catered for. For example, parenting training is available from many charitable foundations, including Care for the Family. You might think parenting comes naturally.  Lucky you if it did.

Identify and seek out training in respect of the competencies you lack – and identifying and admitting that lack is an example of good character, by the way.

As they say, admitting the existence of a gap in your education is the first step to closing it and reaping the rewards that follow – both financial and personal.

What will you seek to learn after today?