Ciara’s experience as a Financial Adviser Level 4 apprentice

Name: Ciara Octigan

Employer & Apprenticeship: Aviva – Financial Adviser Level 4 Apprentice


Why did you choose this study pathway?

I was looking at different Graduate jobs within law and finance. I knew I wanted a long-term career but was open to different opportunities within these two sectors. I came across the AFA qualification advertisement and it appealed to me because I really enjoy learning, and knew that I wanted to go on and do further exams to gain more qualifications. I decided to do the apprenticeship alongside my qualification because it was tailored and specific to my career goals.

How was your learning experience with Davies?

Great! My coach and I had monthly meetings, which resulted in a formal record of progress, but my coach would also be there to support me informally. He was always at the end of the phone and had a huge wealth of resources that helped me. I was really impressed with the amount of resources and expertise that were available. I always knew where I was on the grading system, I had been aiming for a distinction and I knew that it was well within my reach due to the review of my progress on a continuous basis.


How difficult was it to study whilst working?

Personally, I didn’t find it difficult, however, this was partly down to the fact that my employer was really good at making studying a priority, they allowed us to take Friday as a study day so that we could ensure to hit the 20% government off the job training. They were also really flexible when I would attend a workshop, as long as they were aware, the workshop would always take priority and they would find someone else to help with my workload. I found that I was able to progress faster than my original learner journey which benefitted me as I could go at the pace that worked. My coach even ran an unplanned workshop early for me and a few others in my cohort.

After completing my apprenticeship, I was promoted to work within the technical team of Aviva. Going forwards, I would like more exposure of the advice process and within the next year, I am aiming to enter an advice role. Because I enjoy learning and gaining qualifications to further my career and my own professional development, I am also aiming to be chartered within the next 5 years.


What would you say to someone thinking of doing an apprenticeship?

I would say go for it! For me, it is a definite no brainer; it is studying and working at the same time, so it is such a great way to get the qualifications required to step foot into your chosen career path. The knowledge, skills and behaviours that you can acquire whilst working within a role, and that it is so tailored to your goal, demonstrates that you are competent to future potential employers.  I personally think that it is the best route to take to study/become employable within the sector that you want to work in.

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