Written by
Charlotte Ricca-Smith

Published
14 Apr 2015

How to get the most out of your course

14 Apr 2015 • by Charlotte Ricca-Smith

Going on course can be a life-changing experience. It can further your career, inject some fun and excitement into your daily routine and help you learn skills you never thought possible. But - there is always a but - there are a few dos and don'ts you need to consider to ensure you get the most out of the experience.

Follow these rules and you'll be on your way to a fulfilling and educating experience.

DO

Do have a clear career objective as to what you want to gain from the course - and be realistic. If you've never sewn before don't expect to be creating a three-piece suit at the end of your first week.

Do research the course in terms of length, cost, quality and content as they can differ greatly between providers. "Find the course that 'feels' right for you and don't be pressurised into signing up for something you're not 100 per cent sure about," says life coach Suzanne Bond.

Do sign up with an accredited course provides - especially if you are looking to further your career. If you're don't get a recognised qualification at the end of it you could be wasting your time and money.

Do Make you can attend the entire course, otherwise catching up can be difficult. "If you know in advance you won't be able to commit to all sessions, find another course that fits in with your schedule," advises Suzanne.

Do find out if you can get government support via Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL) and Courses for Forces.

Do ask your company if they will sponsor you to go on a course. "We actively encourage our staff to suggest and attend courses and conferences that would benefit them professionally and personally," says Hanna Smith HR Director at Madgex.

DON'T

Don't be afraid to ask for help if you are having problems. There is no such thing as a stupid question. "Everyone learns differently," says Hanna. "If one of our team feels they need time to research a particular area or spend more time working with a mentor our managers support them in the way that's appropriate for them."

Don't be a passive learner - you need to be self-motivated to succeed.  "Just turning up isn't enough," says Louise Bond of Live and Learn. "You need to self-motivated and take responsibility for learning the course material in order to get the most from the course."

Don't take on too much. If it's an on-going course find out if there is homework involved and make sure you are able to hit the deadlines. "On my first day of the course I was told that I would need to find another day in which to do all the homework. That simply wasn't possible," says working mother of three Jo Browne. "Next time I'll ask more questions."

Don't be intimidated by the lingo or terminology. If in doubt ask - you won't get much out of the course if you don't understand what the trainer is saying. "When I'm giving a course I never mind people asking questions - it shows they 're attentive and interested, " says Louise. "It's the ones that sit at the back saying nothing I worry about!"

Don't procrastinate. Get out there and sign up tomorrow, you won't regret it.