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NMBA welcomes fresh batch of apprentices

NMBA welcomes fresh batch of apprentices

The New Model Business Academy's apprenticeship programme has welcomed 20 new recruits this month. 

According to Tom Hegarty, managing director of the NMBA, this new cohort will boost the current 40 apprentices enrolled in the programme, with a further 20 expected to start on 1 January next year. 

The NMBA is also hoping to start a paraplanning apprenticeship, for which the organisation is relying on further funding, Mr Hegarty said. 

Mr Hegarty praised the creation of apprenticeships within the financial services industry, claiming these offered a "more thorough training programme for recruits", by combining on the job experience with knowledge and skills rather than just getting people through exams.

Some advisers had commented earlier this year that it was too costly in terms of time and resource to take on an apprentice, rather than hiring fully qualified financial advisers. 

However, Mr Hegarty said cost should not be too much of an issue, as most advice firms would qualify from the government's co-investment funding, whereby the firm would only pay 10 per cent of the total training costs. 

He explained: "The funding available for this co-investment option only became available at the very end of last year, and only a proportion of training providers on the government register have received a funding allocation (including NMBA).

"In August, the Education and Skills Funding Agency made an announcement to extend their funding contracts with training providers until March 2020, rather than these running to March 2019, as originally planned.

"This means that NMBA has funding for new starts until March 2020 as a minimum, and thereafter the funding will continue for those who have started their apprenticeship programmes."

Some commentators have criticised the government's drive for apprentices, as it is behind its target to achieve 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020. 

However, Mr Hegarty commented: "The number of starts is accelerating now and more apprenticeship standards are being approved all the time, giving options to more and more people.

"There are currently more than 320 government-approved apprenticeship standards available, so this is not an initiative that is now likely to lose momentum and disappear.

"It is an addition to the options available for the financial advice sector that wasn’t previously available, so it makes sense for all firms to consider the route of apprenticeships to help bring new entrants into the sector."

In August, financial advisers such as Stuart Feast, a financial adviser at St Albans-based Feast Noble & Company, told FTAdviser the industry had changed so much over the past 30 years that apprenticeships were "no longer viable" for many businesses.

At the time, Mr Feast commented: "For us, apprenticeships are just not viable. You put a lot of effort and time into someone and I’m afraid that it never seems to bear any fruit. The majority of people that I know working as IFAs think the same thing."

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