Learning and development

We have an annual learning and development allowance of £1,000 and up to 4 days per person.

You can use this in many different ways for professional and personal development activities. Some ideas include workshops, short courses, conferences, coaching, subscriptions and memberships but don’t be afraid to ask if you have an idea we haven’t tried yet.

You can also use the allowance to attend a non role based conference or event focused on improving your health and wellbeing. You will receive two days off for this, and can top up the time from your annual leave allowance.

We know that lots of training isn’t paid for, and involves things like coaching and mentoring, learning from colleagues, being an active part of networks, and other self-directed learning. We will encourage and support people who want to use unbilled days for different types of professional development.

How to use your learning and development allowance

Find an activity to book

Finding the right thing to use the allowance for can be difficult. Here are some ways you can find ideas:

  • Check the Learning and development bikeshed post to see what other people have done this year
  • Ask other people on your team what they’ve done
  • Talk to your line manager, who can help you identify potential areas for development and find suitable events or training
  • Ask the HR team for ideas

Book the activity

  • Agree the plan with your line manager before you book anything
  • Log it in Breathe as a training request for your line manager to approve:
    • Go to “My profile” on the top menu
    • Click the “Training” button
    • Click the “+” button to add a new request
    • Include weblinks and an estimate of the ticket, accommodation and travel costs (up to the maximum of £1,000, though you are welcome to pay the difference for more expensive events)
  • Once it’s approved, post in the #dxw-learning-and-development-bookings channel if you would like support with payment. You can also purchase yourself and make an expense claim
  • Think about sharing event with the rest of your team if it’s something other people might find relevant/useful
  • Add to your Google calendar and make sure your project team know when you’re going to be away

After you get back

  • Take some time to reflect on what you learnt, and (if appropriate) how it applies to your work at dxw
  • Update the latest yearly Learning and Development bikeshed post with details of the event
  • Consider writing a standalone bikeshed post giving more details about the event and how you found it

If you need help

  • Contact the HR team, or ask a question in Slack (#dxw-learning-and-development-bookings)

The small print

dxw pays for the event ticket, travel, and accommodation, but you will need to cover your own costs for food, drink and supplementary equipment.

The allowance is available to everyone once they have completed their probation period, within the dxw financial year which runs from the start of July to end June. It is pro-rata for staff who work part-time.

If you don’t spend your allowance within the financial year, it cannot be carried over. We will start afresh each year, as part of our annual budgeting cycle.

Your allowance is counted as being spent at the time of purchase rather than at time of use. For example, if you buy a conference ticket in May for an event in July the same year, the deduction will be made to the budget for the financial year that May falls within.

Attending conferences and events that are not related to your role is a taxable benefit. As your employer, we will make the declaration, HMRC will then adjust your tax code accordingly to collect the tax via PAYE.

It’s ok for members of the team to go together, but we need to ensure that training days have the lowest impact on client work, so there may be times we need to consider whether your request is possible. Our Director of Delivery will help with prioritisation in those circumstances.

At the end of each financial year we will review our financial position with the intention of increasing the annual allowance.

Support for professional qualifications

We may pay for a qualification or training that exceeds the annual £1,000 individual learning and development allowance, when that course is relevant and helpful to both dxw and the individual. This is a benefit that comes into effect once you have passed your probationary period.

We will agree to pay on the understanding that if you leave dxw, you may be liable to repay some or all of the fees and expenses incurred.

Other than in exceptional circumstances, which will be decided at the Directors’ discretion, you will be required to repay dxw as follows:

  • If you leave dxw before you attend the course, you will repay 100% of the costs that dxw cannot recover from the course provider.
  • If you leave dxw during the course or within 9 months of completing it, you will repay 75% of the costs.
  • If you leave dxw more than 9 months and no more than 12 months after completing the course, you will repay 50% of the costs.
  • If you leave dxw more than 12 months after completing the course, no repayment will be required.

We appreciate that these percentages won’t always work given the length of the qualification, and so the final percentage will be at the discretion of the Directors and will be agreed with the individual prior to approval of the course.

You will not be required to repay any costs in the following circumstances:

  • Compulsory or voluntary redundancy
  • Retirement due to sickness

Please complete this form and speak to your line manager or the People Manager if you would like support from dxw to complete a professional qualification.