Taking the financial services skills agenda forward ...


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FWD Training & Consultancy appoint new Director


Craig Potter

FWD Training & Consultancy appoint new Director ...


One of the UK’s leading Financial Services Training Providers, FWD Training & Consultancy, has strengthened its leadership team with a new Director joining them as they look to prioritise Apprenticeship growth throughout 2017.


Craig Potter has been appointed to the newly created role of Implementation Director at the training provider – which works with some of the largest brand names in financial services and the insurance market such as Lloyd’s of London and Hiscox.


Craig brings with him vast experience, having worked in the Education, Training and Recruitment sector for over 10 years. He joins from YMCA Awards where he was Head of Commercial and part of their Senior Management Team. In his new role with FWD, Craig will be working with levy paying employers to help them develop and implement an Apprenticeship strategy which aligns to Learning & Development priorities and brings about the maximum impact, business benefit and apprentice success.


Craig will also be leading on the introduction of Management and Leadership Apprenticeships at FWD, his specialist knowledge and expertise in this area will be vital as the training provider looks to expand their portfolio of Standards to meet growing employer needs.


Marcus Bowsher, Managing Director at FWD Training & Consultancy, said “This new appointment reflects the growth of our organisation over the last two years and our ambition moving forward. I’m delighted to welcome Craig to the team, he will be instrumental in supporting our levy paying employers to achieve maximum value, benefit and impact from their Apprenticeship programmes. Craig’s expertise will also help us broaden into management and leadership Apprenticeships as we enter a very exciting year for us”.


About FWD Training & Consultancy Limited: A leading specialist Apprenticeship Training Provider for the Financial Services sector in London and the UK.


Working with such bodies as the Chartered Institute of Insurance (CII), Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments (CISI),ifs School of Finance, Pearson and City and Guilds, FWD ensure that they deliver only the highest quality Apprenticeships.


FWD are also an accredited training provider for the National Skills Academy Financial Services. The NSAFS is the quality standard for excellence in training and skills education for the finance industry.


FWD deliver training and apprenticeships in general insurance, investments, mortgages, financial advice, financial administration, retail banking, pensions, debt collection and across critical business support areas such as management, IT, customer service and so on, so there really is something for everyone within the industry.


National Apprenticeship Week - the value of training and development to employers



“An investment in apprenticeships and training at all levels of a business will drive professionalism within the sector, create a genuine career path for new and current employees, and support business growth."


Chris Shaw is now a Delivery Manager and previously was Learning and Development Manager at First Locate.


First Locate has been in the vanguard of apprenticeships within the debt collection industry, and a passionate believer in the value of training and development. A key champion within the business was Chris Shaw, who works as a training consultant for FWD Training and Consultancy providing apprenticeships in Financial Services, and so has experience on both sides of the training ‘fence’.


“Apprenticeships gave us an opportunity of recruiting new talent into the business,” he explains, “and creating a defined career path for every individual. A particular benefit was being able to shape and train them to do things the ‘First Locate Way’ and give them the qualifications and experience to the extent that other local businesses have come to respect our employees as being ‘best in class’.”


To Chris and First Locate, the business case was simple: investing in people from the beginning leads to real business advantage in the mid and longer terms. Motivated, energetic employees who gain experience of all parts of the business, including front and back office, contribute directly to increased profitability, lower costs, and an enhanced ‘product’ or service.


Benefits to employers - click to enlarge

benefits to employers document


It is a myth, Chris says, that younger workers do not have the appetite for hard work: “That was not my experience at First Locate nor subsequently,” he continues. “It is certainly true that not all apprentices stay the distance, but those who do share a work ethic that complements and enhances the company culture.”


As an apprentice pioneer, and the successful graduation of its first four cohorts, First Locate has recently taken its pitcher to the well for a second time. The success of the business has demanded recruiting more staff, and more future talent.


In Chris’ experience, companies have moved beyond training as a mere ‘tick box’ exercise, and many see the new Apprenticeship Levy as an exciting step change within the industry: “Apprenticeships are a people development opportunity,” he adds, “and an opportunity for new talent to show what they can do. It will also act as a catalyst for existing employees to step up to the plate, and make themselves even better at the jobs that they do.”


“An investment in apprenticeships and training at all levels of a business will drive professionalism within the sector, create a genuine career path for new and current employees, and support business growth,” he concludes. “That looks to me like a ‘win win’ for everyone.”


Hundreds of firms register interest in PFS development programme


Personal Finance Society logo

88 aspiring financial advisers prepare to commence in first half of 2017


The Personal Finance Society (PFS) has received more than over 300 registrations of interest in its new financial adviser development programme in just five weeks since its launch.


As a result of the overwhelming response, the PFS is looking to extend the programme, as 88 individuals are already set to commence the training in the first half of this year. The first cohort will begin in March, followed by four additional cohorts in May, across Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and London.


Together with its accredited training partner, FWD Training & Consultancy, the PFS is in discussions with hundreds more interested firms, and is planning to deliver the programme to additional groups from September.


PFS chief executive Keith Richards said: “We have been delighted by the response from financial advice firms, who are clearly looking for new pathways to develop their staff and support the next generation of financial advisers across the country.”


“As the leading professional body for the personal finance sector, we are committed to driving new initiatives that address the very real and ongoing risk of future skills shortages and the evident need for succession planning.”


“Our development programme removes many of the barriers facing firms that seek to develop new talent in our sector, and provides a tangible programme of training and support. We are thrilled that so many of our members have contacted us with a real interest and enthusiasm to engage with us on this new initiative.”


Comprising a combination of apprenticeship funding and PFS sponsorship, the structured training programme lasts 18 months, during which participants achieve the necessary qualifications and skills required to become a fully qualified financial adviser.


All six diploma exams (R01 - R06) are included, as well as all support material including textbooks and remote learning support. Regional exam revision sessions will be made available to all participants, as well as soft skills workshops delivered by an accredited trainer.


The programme’s launch follows the development of the new Financial Adviser apprenticeship standard, which was sponsored by the PFS and approved by the Department for Education in November. It offers employers up to £9,600 in financial assistance to contribute towards the development of a competent financial adviser.


A recent PFS survey revealed that more than three quarters of advice firms were considering taking on additional staff in the next three years, but more than one in five (22%) said a lack of talent and skilled trainees was a major short-term threat to the success of their business.


The PFS programme is available to any employed member of staff who works a minimum 30 hours per week, with additional assistance available for firms seeking to employ new recruits into the programme. It is currently available to employees based in England, while policy clarification is sought for apprenticeship funding in the devolved regions.


An employer contribution of £900 will be required for staff aged 19 or older, but for firms with less than 50 employees where the starting age is less than 19, no contribution is required. There is an additional £1000 incentive available for any size business enrolling an existing or new employee aged less than 19 into the programme.


Registrations of interest can be made by contacting