That “back to school” feeling affects us all, even if we have left our school days far behind. There is definitely an air of a new start, a fresh approach to work and the motivation for self-improvement every September. It’s that time of the year when we see the full time and adult education terms start up and I personally have spent many an autumn evenings at an evening class in a cold classroom clutching a pumpkin spiced latte!

If you work as a PA/EA or Administrator, you have a lot of options, the obvious ones like advanced IT skills, MS Office et al and maybe some new IT skills (I highly recommend MS Visio). Or you might like to study something that will help you with the strategic end of your role or help with your next career move such as Marketing, Human Resources, or Public Relations. The vast majority of evening courses I have undertaken were self-funded. And I have studied all of the above.

When it comes to conferences, workshops, seminars and on-site training during working hours, however, how proactive are you? The market research I undertook when I was developing my own training courses revealed that 28% of PAs surveyed have not upskilled in their current role. They also expressed that they felt a lack of appreciation for their role from their colleagues generally. If you work in an industry where your co-workers are in other professions, such as in health where your colleagues are nurses or say, occupational therapist, and constant upskilling and keeping abreast of industry developments is the norm and is in fact expected, as an Administrator you can feel left out, left behind and forgotten.

Personally, I don’t believe it’s your manager’s role to provide your self-development. I believe it’s their role to support and encourage it, but essentially you need to be the one to take control. So, if you are not being asked to attend training, workshops and conferences, take matters into your own hands and ask for it. As an Administrator, your skill set doesn’t change as rapidly as other professions.  You may need to put it out there that you want to be involved, you want to upskill, develop and grow yourself and the company. Show your enthusiasm.

If you have never been provided with or funded for formal training in your current role or have never been given an opportunity to attend a conference, workshop or seminar, have you asked for it? Have you asked and been refused? If so, maybe take a look at your approach and ask yourself if you could provide a business case for why it would benefit the business for you to attend. Always sell the benefits to the company first and yourself second. This applies to interviews and it applies to looking for training too.

Remember, if you never ask, then the answer will always be no.

This is a guest post from Margaret Young, owner of Train MY Admin. Margeret will be speaking at the Practically Perfect PA Virtual Summit

Why personal development is your own responsibility

As a PA/EA trainer, I provide training to clients based in Dublin and around Ireland. I am currently organising workshops which will be held in central Dublin hotels and I am also available for on-site, in company training, either 1 to 1 or group, all around Ireland. If this post has struck a chord with you, you might like to contact me for a chat and a training needs assessment. We can plan our approach on how to ask your manager for approval/funding together. You can reach me anytime at or 00353 85 7351464 or via LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

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