Keeping your skills up to date is vital in the world of contracting, as having a finely tuned skill set increases your “marketability” and allows for you to command higher rates.
Once you have made the leap into contracting, time is essentially money, so you may expect that you will not have the time in between contracts to to attend classes or courses – but that’s where you’re wrong.
Keeping your skills up to date, not only opens up more opportunities to increase your rate of pay but it allows you to:
- Open the door to new opportunities
- Keep ahead of the competition
- Keep up with changing technologies
Which training courses?
For some industries, such as engineering, law and finance this is pretty straightforward, as you will be required each year to undertake certain training programs to renew your membership to a professional body.
However, if you have no stipulations to what training you complete, it’s recommended to do research before deciding which training course you will undertake. For example: is there a formal outcome from the course? Such as a new qualification or a certificate of completion. This is even more important for highly technical industries such as, engineering or IT as clients will be looking for certain qualifications to prove your skills.
If you are unsure of which qualifications are desirable, you could either look at job specs of contracts you are interested in or you could hunt for other contractors CV’s on Indeed and see what skills they have that could be of benefit to you.
Can my current client pay for my course?
Under no circumstances should your course ever be paid for by your client as you would then be seen as working within IR35. You can however, claim the costs back of some courses if you are a director of your own limited company, however we recommend you speak to your accountant before you book anything, just to see if would be classified as an expense.
When is the best time to train?
There isn’t really a right or wrong answer to this, it could be once a contract has been completed, and you’re still searching for the next. Perhaps you could attend a course on a topic which adds to your primary skills set, and you never know, you may end up meeting a few potential contacts too.
Or you could convince your existing client to trial something new, this could be a new technology. Then you could attend a course, a conference, or an online workshop and learn the skills needed to use the new technology. Though you would have to pay for the learning, it could result in a contract renewal. It’s a win/win for both the contractor and client.
Continuing your education and investment in your skills will inevitably mean that your contracting career, grows and matures. So next time you have some time between contracts perhaps you will consider growing your skill set.
For advice on becoming a contractor, or any other contracting is, please call the New Business team on 01253 362062 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.