Dear Lifehacker, I had a hard time studying when I was younger, I lacked commitment and wanted to get straight into the workforce. I have a full-time job at a media company, and while I have a good technical knowledge, I am noticing a lot of gaps and I think a lack of formal qualification is a factor. After discussing it with my other half, she suggested that I try to convince my boss to pay, or help to pay, for a formal qualification. How can I convince my boss to help me out with study? And are there any tax breaks I can take advantage of? Thanks, Keen Learner
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Many workplaces will invest in employee education as part of an overall package, because they see the benefits to the business in having smarter employees, whether that's a matter of generally improving employee skill bases or having employees with specific industry qualifications to allow them to undertake particular avenues of work.
One way (which we've covered before) to convince your boss to chip in would be to point out where a qualification you could gain could address a skills need that your work currently has.
Applying simple persuasion techniques could carry you a long way to getting your boss onside for your own educational ends, although it's wise to always swing discussions back around how they'll help the business. Many employers are wary of paying to help workers gain qualifications that could see them trawl the wider job market in the future.
As for the issue of personal tax breaks, as long as your education is directly related to your current employment and are not intended to secure you a new job or open up a "new income-earning activity", you can claim tax relief for expenses you personally accrue as part of your studies; the ATO refers to them as "self education expenses" and can include the cost of textbooks, student fees and depreciation.
Any Lifehacker readers managed to convince the powers that be to pay for their further education once in a job?
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