Behind apprenticeship learning

Tell us about yourself, your role, and the challenges it brings.
I am a Financial Planning and Investment Management Growth and Success Lead. I’ve been doing this job for three years and I’ve got a broad range of responsibilities, but if I was to simplify it then I would say I manage the growth and success of Davies’ apprenticeship delivery to the financial planning and investment management sector.

My responsibilities include the implementation of training and curriculum learning both in face-to-face and remote settings. I ensure that the materials and learning format aligns with apprenticeship standards and enables individuals to be more competent when they’re discussing investment, retirement, planning protection, estate planning, long-term care etc.

The high volume of learners can be challenging. It takes time to ensure that everyone remains on track and does not focus just on their exams. They also need to develop competence in their job role. One of the most important aspects of the training that we deliver is teaching learners the skills and behaviours that will help them become well-rounded professionals.

 

What are the main benefits of doing an apprenticeship?
A big benefit of doing an apprenticeship is that you are employed by someone who is investing in your career from a financial standpoint, whilst also getting the opportunity to learn on the job. Learning on the job helps apprentices develop their knowledge, skills, and behaviours which is super practical when you’re in a new environment or one that is fast paced.

 

What are your top three studying tips?
Tip 1: Get organised. Making sure that you have thought carefully about the different modules and have a list of tasks that need to get done and their deadlines.

Tip 2: Let people know about your set time frames for exams/assignments. They may be able to support you in the home or workplace, giving you that time to be disciplined, isolate yourself and execute your study plan.

Tip 3: Be consistent. If you mark out two hours to do a bit of studying, then you should make sure that you utilise those two hours without cutting corners. And be sure to test your understanding after your study period!

 

What is the biggest challenge for apprenticeships in 2022?
There’s a lot going on around education in the industry, the biggest factor being the shift to remote working and learning. The pandemic has changed how we manage stress and anxiety and learning how to spot the signs when people are struggling has been difficult.

Virtual learning can make having those water-cooler conversations a little bit harder than if you are learning in a face-to-face environment. Sometimes just phoning someone to see how they’re doing can give you the opportunity of spotting areas of concern and understanding any gaps within your organisation that could be addressed.

 

What’s your proudest moment as a coach?
My proudest moment as a coach is supporting a student who felt they were unable to complete the volume and complexity of the technical exams. In the end, she was able to complete the apprenticeship, and with a distinction grade too!

I called the learner when I received her result and she answered with her line manager, she started crying with happiness and it was lovely. She said it changed her life because completing her apprenticeship enabled her to get a promotion. That feeling that you’ve made a difference is my biggest success. This individual is employed with Davies and is a pleasure to work with.

 

Can you tell us about an apprentice you’ve seen flourish?
I have seen many apprentices flourish. Particularly those that have struggled with an exam or failed one but have redoubled efforts without adjusting the time frame needed to complete the apprenticeship. As a coach, you must be upfront and honest with them, support and realign them. Let them know the expectations and make sure that they are well-positioned to take the exam again. Seeing how an individual gets back up when things get tough and overcomes those challenges to not just pass the exam but learn from their mistakes is important, and great to see.

 

Can you tell us about a learning mentor that has inspired you?
I was at university studying accounting, and I remember very early my macroeconomics lecturer told me.

“Your success when it comes to study and application is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”.

At the time, I didn’t understand that if I’m honest with you, but it stuck in my head and eventually bothered me enough to go find out the meaning behind it. It’s all about how hard you work, and the dedication that you’ve got. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to succeed, it’s down to you to make it happen and that’s something that stuck in my mind and continues to be there.

 

Our learning solutions team delivers a range of apprenticeship programmes across insurance & financial services. Get in touch with to find out how we help businesses make the most from the apprenticeship levy.

Kenneth O’Donnell
Financial Planning & Investment Lead
Kenneth.O’Donnell@davies-group.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kenny-o-donnell-9097873b/

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