Over the Christmas break, Maria spent a lot of time working on her report for Henry, outlining the study leave and exam fee coverage she'll need.
She put together an excellent summary of why she wishes to study AAT rather than any of the larger qualifications ("because it will be particularly relevant for our clients and equip me with useful skills to do an even better job").
She asked for full study leave for the original courses and any revision courses, exam leave for each of the days when the exams are, and full coverage of course and exam fees.
"I'm not sure I should be asking for all that, Allie. Isn't it too much?" she asked when we reviewed the report together.
"He can only say no!" I reassured her. "Ask for it and he may give it to you, but if you don't ask for it then he's bound to say no!"
She nervously agreed to include it, and presented the report to Henry when we came back after the Christmas break.
To the astonishment of both of us, Henry came into our office the following day and said, "Maria, I agree to everything you've asked for. Book your courses - we'll give you full study leave and we'll pay for everything."
Maria was dumbfounded.
After Henry had left, Paul said, "What happens if you fail any of the exams? And will you have to pay back any of the fees if you leave?"
"I don't know," Maria admitted.
"You need to sort that out now, Maria. If you don't, then there'll only be problems if either of those happens."
Maria went to speak to Henry, and came back saying, "If I fail any of the exams then I'll have to pay my own fees for the second attempts. But Henry says I don't have to pay anything back if I leave. He says he doesn't want me to stay for that reason. If I stay, he wants it to be because I'm happy here."
I think that's a very sensible viewpoint from Henry. There's nothing worse than unhappy staff.
Maria has booked her courses and is bubbling with enthusiasm for her studies. Let's see how well she does... I'm sure she'll do very well but she's going to find out how much hard work the exams can be!