Career return courses after pandemic receive financial support
Leaders rarely expect sympathy – the corporate world thrives on competition, not charity. But Covid-19 has prompted business schools and governments to consider ways to support executives who find themselves on leave, laid off, or needing to retrain.
“When the pandemic landed we all found ourselves with a lot more free time,” says William Vandyk, who has worked in the City of London for over 20 years, on mergers and acquisitions and raising capital for small cap companies. .
His last role was responsible for strategy and corporate finance at Schroders Personal Wealth, a joint venture with Lloyds Bank with 30,000 clients and £ 13 billion under management. Most of the dismissals came from Lloyds, so he was not surprised his team were laid off three months after the March 2020 lockdown when branches closed.
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Have completed an MBA at Imperial College School of Business in London two years earlier, Vandyk saw an opportunity to fill the gaps in his leadership skills. Imperial’s online training course, Leadership in a Technology Driven World, caught his eye. While his alma mater typically offers a 25% reduction for alumni, during the pandemic, he removed tuition fees on virtual programs for graduates who had been laid off or on leave – a move that has left him behind. saved several thousand pounds sterling for four weeks of study.
About 85 alumni took advantage of the offer, which equates to a total of £ 198,000 in waiver fees, said Mike Davis, director of open programs. Other reductions included a 50 percent reduction for employees of UK charities.
“I got to grab my cake and eat it,” says Vandyk, who is now managing director of financial services consultancy Addere Capital and plans to take courses in sustainable finance. “The short course didn’t just answer ‘how do you manage? question, but taught me a lot more about listening and empathizing with people, rather than trying to step in and solve or correct them.
In some other countries, notably France and Norway, financial support has come from governments rather than business schools. HEC Paris, for example, was able to join the National Employment Fund for training (FNE) for staff on leave, which enabled companies to claim the full costs of training up to € 6,000 per worker. This enabled HEC to register more than 500 participants in 20 different courses.
French executives were able to use the CPF (personal training account) personal training account to finance their management training. Keen to encourage continuous professional development, the CPF has already provided funding to the tune of € 500 per year, capped at € 5,000. Yannick Joe, who heads business development at spray paint manufacturer Technima in Tours, used his CPF for a marketing and sales course at Neoma Business School. “Having access to my personal training account allowed me to quickly acquire the tools I needed to develop my business,” he says.
Blandine Dogimont, senior sales manager of Rolls-Royce’s nuclear activity in France, followed training in information systems and digital management at Grenoble Ecole de Management, as part of the Fongecif system. Under this system of financing professionals (since replaced by a system called Transitions Pro), employers paid 0.2 percent of gross payroll to the fund. Employees over 40 were among the target beneficiaries.
“I was the mother of three 46-year-old children when I took the course,” says Dogimont. La Fongecif paid 60 percent of the costs, its employer and Dogimont paying the rest. “I wouldn’t have been able to fund the program on my own. Applying is not that simple, but it makes it a good test of the candidate’s determination and motivation.
Likewise, in Norway there is a tradition of tripartite collaboration between the state, employers and employees. When the pandemic struck, the Norwegian government set aside € 18.5 million for educational institutions to provide short and flexible executive training courses on relevant topics.
“Thanks to these funds, institutions were able to rethink and reorganize their offerings and provide them free of charge to people affected by the crisis,” explains David Sagen, director of executive programs at BI Norwegian Business School. BI offered 2,000 places on courses ranging from digital transformation and sustainable business practices to strategy and project management.
As economies seek to rebound from the pandemic, such collaborative approaches to financing may prove increasingly attractive to governments elsewhere.
How to advocate for business money
Stéphane Dubreuille, director of executive training at Neoma Business School in France, offers you advice to convince your employer to finance a program:
Check the background and personality of the decision maker – a little psychology can suggest how to approach them most effectively
Seek the support of an internal sponsor who is positive about your project and who has experience and influence
Show your employer what he has to gain: his return on investment
Allay your employer’s fears by establishing a schedule of tasks to be done in your absence
Demonstrate how the course fits into the company’s strategy
Convince your employer of the quality of the course and its participants