There were no great surprises in the Budget as much of it had been trailed in advance. But scrutiny of the Finance Bill revealed more detail.
One development which probably is of greater interest to our corporate clients was the announcement that apprenticeship schemes would be given a much needed boost, with the aim of securing 250,000 schemes within four years.
How will this news impact on our graduate training and development programme? Not very much at all, is the answer. Even the higher level apprenticeships mentioned are still below our entry level at Buckles. Training for an apprenticeship and then entering a trade presupposes that the decision not to study for a university degree has already been taken.
Our graduate trainees are just that – graduate trainees – and many have opted to join us rather than more tradit-ional “milk round” schemes. We provide our graduate trainees with first-class, personalised training so that each one becomes a fully qualified financial planner. They gain hands-on know-ledge and experience in the industry, with full backing and support provided.
We guide all trainees through their studies up to chartered status and make sure that they are aware of all the latest financial developments and are more than capable of advising customers on financial matters, such as selecting investment plans and reviewing existing policies to suit client’s ever-changing needs and personal circumstances.
A number of our graduates have successfully advanced their careers within the firm and now occupy senior positions at our parent company. There are long-term career prospects – promotion to senior management is a highly likely goal.
We feel there is little merit in creating apprenticeships or graduate training programmes for the sake of it. However, if the state can fund the training, maybe the Chan-cellor should consider funding training schemes for school leavers who wish to join the industry at a low entry level. But from our perspective, that is not real work. We want to train people to give top quality financial planning advice and offer them long and ambitious career paths.
Funds for vocational training and apprenticeships must be approached more imaginatively if we are to capitalise on the young talent and aspiration out there while also ensuring that our economic growth is backed by much needed skills.
Amanda Jones is HR manager at Buckles Investment Services