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How to ask your boss for training budget

Asking your boss for a training budget can be challenging, but we've got you covered with this email template.

Research shows time and again that investing in your staff pays dividends. Putting budget aside for annual professional development and upskilling has all sorts of flow-on benefits: companies who train their staff experience higher profits, better retention, more staff engagement and reduced productivity loss. In other words, it’s not just in employees’ interests to improve their skills – it’s good business too. 

Still, despite the well-documented benefits, asking your boss or line manager for training budget isn’t always easy. There’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about it. If your company already has a Personal Development Program (PDP) that deals with training, it’s probably a good idea to start there. If there’s no formal structure in place, the onus might be on you to make something happen. 

Here are a few tips to successfully negotiate money for professional training and development. 


1. Do your research 

Going to your manager with a course or two in mind is much more effective than a vague request for ‘training money. For starters, your boss will know the cost up-front, which will help them factor your learning into their budget. When you’ve identified a couple of reputable learning opportunities, it’s also easier to tie them directly to your JD or day-to-day role (we’ll get to this down below).  


2. Know your objectives 

Do you need training to do your job more effectively? Do you feel you lack the necessary tech skills to be productive? Have you noticed your company’s competitors pulling ahead on data analysis, cybersecurity or blockchain? RMIT Online research shows that 77 per cent of managers say their organisations could do more to upskill staff, so chances are your senior executives are aware of these issues, too.  


3. Frame your ask 

To successfully secure training budget, you need to ‘frame your ask’. In other words, your boss needs to know a) what you want to learn, and b) how it will benefit the company. There are plenty of valid reasons to request training budget, but improving your own resume for future job prospects, while great for you, is probably not going to convince your manager. Try to find benefits that tie directly back to the core business.  


4. Time it right 

End of financial year (EOFY) is a great time to ask for dedicated training. If you prepare your request in May or June, chances are your boss will have some EOFY budget left over from the previous financial year. As the old middle-management saying goes: spend it or lose it. If there’s no money lying around, they can probably build your training into next year’s budget. The end of the calendar year can also be an effective time: managers are usually looking to the next year, and may need to pitch changes to senior stakeholders.  


5. Be flexible 

It might be that the courses you’ve chosen simply don’t fit within your company’s allocated training budget. That’s disappointing, but it’s not the end of the story. See if you can work out a compromise, and don’t hold too rigidly to your initial plan. There may be a middle road where you and the company can both get what you want. Your attitude should be confident, but flexible.  

Don’t think of it as making demands: re-frame the request as an opportunity for the company to upskill its workforce. Studies show that 2.6 million workers in Australia, about 24 per cent of the workforce, require digital skills to perform their job. If you don’t have those skills, it’s in the company’s best interest to help.  


5. Use a template 

Email is generally the best way to start the budget request process. It gets something in writing, which may be valuable later on when you’re trying to document your attempts in this space. And it’s non-confrontational: your boss can respond in their own time, you’re just getting the request on their radar. If you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of training request email templates online.  

Here’s one we came up with. Just make sure to change the specific details before sending (you’d be surprised how often that happens…)  


Subject: Request for professional development – [Your Name] 

Hi [Manager’s Name], 

As part of my continued development within [Company Name], I’d like to pursue additional training this year. I’ve found a couple of professional development opportunities that I think might be suitable, and I’d appreciate the chance to chat them over with you. 

I believe these courses would benefit the company in the following ways: 

  • Plug digital skills gaps within our department. 
  • Improve our analytics and data security. 
  • Boost client retention and sales. 

The first course is [Course Name] and the second is [Course Name]. They’re both flexible, online degrees, either of which could be completed remotely. I don’t foresee any significant disruption to my day-to-day responsibilities.  

The cost of these courses is [Cost]. I’m hoping [Company Name] will cover this expense as part of my ongoing training and professional development. If you have any alternative education providers in mind, I’d love to hear about them too. 

Thanks for taking the time to review this request. I’d love to sit down in person and discuss my options, as well as answer any questions you may have. 


[Your Name] 


If you need more evidence to support your training request, check out the RMIT Online Future of Work Report 2022. It’s full of data concerning the direct value of employee training. To find an online course that suits you, check out RMIT Online’s study areas.  

This article was originally published on 20 June 2023