One of the ongoing challenges that freelances face is adapting their skills and learning new ones to ensure that we can fulfil the skills demand of our clients on an ongoing basis.
We need to identify which new skills are needed, source the best place to learn these and usually pay for training. All a pretty big ask when we are also busy working, managing our careers, and looking for the next job or contract.
Given that we will need to develop our skills at some point or another, it's important that we invest our resources wisely to avoid choosing the wrong training and wasting valuable resources. Considering the following will help:
What upskilling/new skills do you need?
Here, it’s important to think about the skills that will help you get new work in the future. This means understanding client needs in the short- and long-term so that your work remains marketable in a fiercely competitive environment.
In some cases, your aim will be to consolidate and build on existing skills and experience. For example, you may be a novelist who wants to try screenwriting and needs a good quality short course. Or, you may be a performer who needs more voice training as you want to move into voiceovers. At other times, you will be looking to diversify your career portfolio and perhaps create a totally new string to your bow - which may take longer.
Finding the right training for you
Whatever your training/learning needs are, there are a lot of providers out there in the creative professional world and not all are of a high quality. So, once you know what you want to learn, ask around your networks and colleagues for advice and opinions on what provider is best. Ask providers plenty of questions about course content and the expected learning outcomes. Also, see if you can talk to people who have already participated in their training.
In rare instances, you might be able to source free training, e.g., FEU Training is able to offer free opportunities to members this year because we have been successful in obtaining funding. This won’t last for much longer, so do make the most of it.
However, you will most likely need to pay for training too. To avoid wasting money, do the research beforehand to ensure that the price of training is cost-effective and helps you get the results you want.
Always ask providers if there is any funding/bursary attached to their courses. You never know, you might qualify for a discount. If you do have to pay the full cost of what you consider to be the best training, you will need to budget for this. Remember, professional training/upskilling is a legitimate tax deductible expense.
Want to learn more?
FEU Training is running a number of free skills development workshops around the country this year. If you would like to attend, look out for updates for workshops coming to your region or register your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org (if we have sufficient demand, we’ll come to you).