In the modern age of IT where there is much content easily available on the internet for free and social meet ups for technology professionals and enthusiasts it does put into question why companies would spend significant amounts of money sending their staff to classroom based training.
Infrastructure courses in particular cost from 2K upwards for 5 days training per person. When you evaluate the costs it is reasonable to understand why some companies are reluctant to invest this amount of money given that many employees will change their employment every few years and also there may be no value in re-skilling if the business model will dictate alternative skills in the future.
There are now alternative ways to train that can be more cost effective. The internet provides a wealth of knowledge and the big vendors such as Microsoft, VMware and Cisco all have information readily available to consumers. With Microsoft for example you could subscribe to resources such as Azure and Office 365 where you have purpose built environment to work with at a very minimal cost depending on what type of licenses and resources you plan to use. VMware's Hands on Labs are a great free resource for anyone looking to get some experience without spending a penny
The influence of social media in our lives makes it very easy to reach out to like minded others who we share the same passion and desire for technology. Networking and collaboration with others allows for better learning and sharing of information with the potential to open up other job opportunities. This can lead to acquiring new skills and experience within a highly evolving world and is key consideration for any IT Pro that has the energy and ambition to stay ahead of the game!
Eventbrite, Meetup are both useful resources for finding Tech events around the UK and the content of some of the sessions I have personally attended are terrific!