1 Short courses show a candidate has initiative.
Employers always want to hire critical thinkers, and short courses demonstrate precisely this skill set. Having a short-course on your CV indicates that you identified a gap in your knowledge, sought out a sound solution and followed through.
2 Short Courses Go Deep
The content of short courses tends to be narrow and targeted. Employers value in-depth knowledge because that’s the best type to be harnessed. You can share your learning with your co-workers, and the organisation can offer those new skills as part of the team’s capabilities, which adds value and potential profit to the department.
3 Short courses are relevant.
Convincing an employer that you have the relevant skills for the job is tough. Employers want a lot – excellent conservation skills with a side helping of associated know-how like project management, PR training or web skills. If you want to secure a job which has a focus on a particular skill, a conservation degree may seem too general to clinch it. Deborah Cane, Conservation Manager Sculpture and Art Installation at Tate, said ‘It can help to determine levels of practical skills as a candidate may not have been able to experience a wide range of materials during their training.’ Showing you’ve attended a short course is a way of highlighting that you have precisely the skills an employer desires.
4 Short courses enable you to multitask.
Attending a three-year degree is a significant time commitment, and often when you graduate and move on to your first interview, you will be met with that old chestnut, ‘What experience do you have?’ Recently, I met a very impressive young man who was brave enough to step away from the traditional educational route and learn through short courses. Over the duration of two years, he had a dizzying list of short courses to his name, and he had been able to take work experience opportunities that arose between courses. When his turn came to answer the dreaded question – he served up a portfolio equally weighted between academics and work experience. Result: Hired!
5 Short courses are great value for money.
At around £9000 per year tuition fees at university – just think how many highly relevant short courses a student could attend for the princely sum of £27,000 – the equivalent of 3 years of study. John Rushworth MD of Restore London says, ‘Short courses are a cost effective way to improve skills, and they are not too time-consuming.’
6 Short courses are network hubs.
Meeting people on short courses is an excellent way to make valuable contacts. Groups are usually small so getting acquainted couldn’t be easier, and the conversation is unlikely to be stilted as you all have a mutual interest. Remember an employer isn’t just hiring you, but also your contacts so if you strike up a rapport with some other great professionals – you’re adding value to your organisation’s circle without any extra effort for them.
7 Employers know you learn more on a short course.
Short courses tend to be conducted in small groups. Everyone knows that small-group education is the best way to learn. Why else do politicians always make promises about reducing class sizes at election time? You are likely to retain more, participate more and remember more from small-group learning.
8 Short courses can inspire you anew.
If your degree was twenty years ago, the chances are that your charismatic course leader’s touch may have worn thin. Short courses can give you that spark of inspiration which keeps the fire burning in our professional lives.
9 Short courses are ideal if you are time poor.
Your course tutor is likely to be an expert in their particular field and will have come across many resources during their working life. Attending the course means you partake of their expertise, but you are also likely to get a tonne of resources that they have put together for you. These titbits will save you hours of trawling through journals and websites – it’s good time management
10 Short courses demonstrate a commitment to CPD.
Attending short courses shows that you are living the ACR ethos of continued professional development. It illustrates that you have a sincere interest in your career and are not just satisfied with the status quo. Rod Titian of Titian Studios summed it up well, ‘Attending short courses shows that you are not pompous enough to think you know everything. The best conservator/restorers are learning all the time.’
Lucy Branch is a sculptural and architectural features conservator and has been a Director of Antique Bronze Ltd for over twenty years. Join her in June on The Conservation of Immovable Bronze Objects