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The Credit Services Association (CSA)
Blazing the trail
From CCR Magazine - August 2016
David Sheridan, CSA Board Director
While there has been considerable noise in recent years around training and development, there are few initiatives that have captured the imagination more than the government’s new Trailblazer programme. Our journey in embracing the training challenge, and in helping to meet the future needs of members and the wider industry, has been equally as exciting.
Joining us on this journey has been the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), our organisations working together to lead development of new ‘apprenticeships’ for our sector. We have a Trailblazer Steering Group, which I am privileged to chair with Sharon Huckle of BT, supported by Fiona Macaskill and Debbie Tuckwood from the CSA and CICM respectively. It is a group packed with expertise that is currently working towards a new standard for the Level 3 Qualification in advanced credit control and specialist debt collection.
With the Level 2 Standard previously approved by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Level 3 has also now been formally accepted although there are still some elements left to agree. Feedback from government so far has been almost universally positive, and we are delighted that the standard was formally approved and published on 29 June.
As well as working with the CICM and its members, a number of CSA member firms have put their shoulders to the wheel in helping us to shape what the new standards should look like. They include, but are not restricted to, Burlington Group, Cabot Financial, Lowell Group, Phillips & Cohen Associates, PRA Group, 1st Credit, and MMF, and their combined support has been invaluable. We look forward to their further engagement, and the involvement of many other member firms and individuals, as the standards progress.
It is also worth us highlighting the work of the CSA, the CICM, and some of our members as representatives on the Financial Services Compliance Trailblazer Group and, most recently, in joining a new Financial Services Steering group which will work towards ensuring consistency and best practice across the financial-services industry in the development and delivery of apprenticeships.
Why is this important? Because it further positions the debt collection and credit community at the heart of the financialservices sector and no longer on the fringes.
Apprenticeships are a positive move for employers and employees alike. The word ‘apprentice’ is arguably a misnomer, for, while it conjures up an image of schoolleavers embarking on their first journey into the working world, in the context of Trailblazers it is so much more besides.
A Trailblazer apprenticeship is equally relevant to existing employees as an integral part of sn employer’s personnel-development strategy. The allowance created by the monthly levy can be used to help train the next level of management, and help current employees to climb the career ladder.
The success of the Trailblazer initiative is ultimately in the hands of employers and my experience in working on this particular apprenticeship has shown me a real deep desire to create a standard that meets industry needs and fundamentally helps employees succeed.
The Trailblazer journey has only just begun and I am excited about what this will mean in terms of improving the skills and capabilities of new and existing employees and the industry as a whole.
Back to apprenticeship section.