Julian Hince, head of training at Quilter Financial Adviser School, talks about the latest cohort of fast-track students who have studied online and qualified as financial advisers - all under lockdown conditions.
In March this year, we were incredibly happy to see our first cohort of fast track students graduate at an event in our London office. The students enjoyed drinks, collected their certificates and shook each other’s hands.
That unfortunately was pretty much the last time this year anything like that could happen both at Quilter and across the country due to the Covid pandemic.
However, despite this huge change of circumstances we have since had another cohort of fast track student start and subsequently complete the course all completely under lockdown conditions.
Sadly, for obvious reasons, they won’t be able to enjoy anything like the same sort of celebration as our first cohort but on the bright side that might save a few sore heads.
It really is testament to the students and our trainers that the most recent cohort have all passed their examinations and achieved a Diploma for Financial Advisers while under circumstances no-one has ever experienced before and are now starting their new career.
The industry has been phenomenal at not letting the pandemic get in the way of them doing their job. We have been inspired by this resilience and endeavoured to make sure that our students can continue to move closer to realising their career dreams. One unintended consequence of the school staying open is that students have communicated that the lessons and work were a fantastic distraction from what has been a difficult year to say the least.
We must also not forget that regardless of the pandemic, the industry is facing a severe advice gap and adviser schools like ours cannot afford to miss the opportunity to enable people to join the profession.
Fortunately, for some years we have operated in a largely remote way to make sure students across the UK can still join our programs regardless of location. While there of course some aspects of face to face contact that lend themselves better to learning, we really have seen how useful online teaching portals can be in times like this and in helping to expedite the flow of advisers into the industry.
Similarly, some of the feedback has been that this learning style has actually been beneficial for students to understand how to interact with others in a purely digital setting. At least for the time being this might be the medium of choice for their future clients until the pandemic subsides.
It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that everyone learns in a slightly different way. There will be some who will find the totally remote learning model a fantastic option, giving them more flexibility and requiring less travel. For others, a more face to face approach is preferable. While we unfortunately don’t look like we are going to be back in the classroom any time soon, this huge national experiment has taught us there are new ways to teach people how to be financial advisers and any way to make the profession more accessible to different types of learners can only be a good thing.
Visit the Quilter Financial Adviser School website for more information about the training available.
This article first appeared in FT Adviser on 2 October