How FWD Training & Consultancy Developed Distinction

“I don’t think there are words to explain the feeling of passing and achieving the results I only dreamed of. I am just so grateful to all of those who believed in me, and knew I would do it, even when I lost faith and didn’t think I could.

Financial Services apprentice, Hannah Matthews, has become one of the first apprentices in the UK to achieve a distinction under the new Mortgage Adviser standard thanks to FWD Training. Here’s Hannah’s story:

Hannah found it challenging when first starting her studies with FWD, initially finding juggling the requirements of learning and full-time employment tricky.

With the help of her Coach, Gavin Jacobs, she managed to navigate her first assignment and soon found her feet, producing work of an exceptional standard which saw her prepare to achieve distinction prior to completing gateway – several months early.

Hannah was given the opportunities by Gavin to fully showcase her skills in her final assignment, seeing her comfortably gain an overall distinction.

Hannah said of her FWD Training Apprenticeship experience:

I had not long been with the company before being presented with the opportunity to enrol with FWD Training and complete an apprenticeship programme to help gain the relevant qualifications to further progress my career; a career I never knew I wanted to do!

“Upon my initial meeting with Gavin I was unsure if an apprenticeship programme was really for me, and being the lazy sort, I didn’t know if it would be too much work on top of my everyday job, however; Gavin’s enthusiasm and the guidance throughout the course was great. I feel that he, along with my mentors and colleagues, really helped to push and challenge me, enabling me to succeed.

 “FWD provided structured training – something that I feel is crucial to any learning environment. They helped me set a goal, and a goal that I consistently worked towards.  

“I did not anticipate leaving the company I was working for, however, after passing my CeMAP exams and, like any good professional, updating my LinkedIn – an opportunity presented itself – and I decided to take it. However, with this decision came an even bigger decision – do I carry on and try to complete my apprenticeship months before the set completion date? Or, do I quit.

“With the help and support from my mentors, I decided to take the challenge and try to finish – it was difficult, tiring but with the guidance and regular contact with Gavin I managed to do it, and do it well! 

“When I received that phone call, moments before I stepped out of the office for the last time, I was in pure disbelief. I knew I hadn’t failed, but I did not expect to hear those words ‘you got a distinction’. To this day, I still can’t quite get my head around it.

“I don’t think there are words to explain the feeling of passing and achieving the results I only dreamed of. I am just so grateful to all of those who believed in me, and knew I would do it, even when I lost faith and didn’t think I could.

“The continuous support and guidance I received, all contributed to enabling me to do as well as I did, and for that I owe a massive thank you to Gavin and Mary. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity presented, and the support received.”

Gavin said of Hannah’s success: “I’m very proud and it’s a fantastic way for her to move on to her new venture and employer.

“It was good for FWD to show her new employer that we can deliver on our promise.

“I tell the apprentices at the outset that we will we challenge and stretch them to fulfil their potential, and this has seen Hannah achieve her distinction.”

“They are going into a profession where they learn to be professional every day just by virtue of doing the Apprenticeship. It changes their behaviour and attitude to work.”

With regards to working with DSW Apprenticeships, who provide End Point Assessment (EPA) services for the Mortgage Advisor and other financial services standards, Gavin said: “I only have to deal with one Assessor from DSW for the three Standards they EPA.

“It makes more sense for the assessing company and the training provider to work together and explain what they need and what distinction looks like.”

The Mortgage Adviser standard has been developed by large banks and financial services employers to meet the needs of the industry and develop a programme of learning to prepare Apprentices to meet industry expectations.

The standard requires Apprentices to show they understand the regulations affecting the Mortgage sector and be compliant with these. They must also demonstrate high levels of customer service and professionalism, effectively assess the client’s needs and suitability and that they are able to responsibly provide the correct solution for the client’s unique circumstances.

The introduction of standards as part of the Government’s Apprenticeship reforms has seen more rigorous and demanding assessments introduced to provide industry-ready, quality Apprenticeship provision tailored to specific roles.

FWD Training and Consultancy – a leading Financial Services Apprenticeship training provider and consultancy firm – was thrilled Hannah achieved such an excellent result after overcoming her initial challenges.

Marcus Bowsher, FWD Training Managing Director, said: “We would like to congratulate Hannah on her achievement and wish her the very best in her career. It has been a pleasure helping such a committed candidate to gain her Apprenticeship at such a high level. 

“We take pride in giving our Apprenticeship candidates exceptional training, designed with the needs of our apprentices and employers at its heart. Our coach, Gavin Jacobs, helped Hannah to identify what she needed to do to prepare for gateway and created professional opportunities for her to show what she had learned and achieve her full potential.

Julie Hampshire, Lead Assessor for EPA organisation DSW Apprenticeships, the End Point Assessment Organisation which assessed Hannah’s work, said: “It is always encouraging to see young people achieve their goals after overcoming initial barriers to success.

“We were delighted to assess Hannah’s work as being of a distinction standard and could see her Coach had clearly given her every opportunity to demonstrate her knowledge and skills were worthy of the highest award.”

Find out more about FWD Training & Consultancy: FWD website

Find out more about DSW Apprenticeships’ End Point Assessment services: DSW Apprenticeships website

About Alicia Clow

Alicia is the Marketing Manager at DSW. Her background is in Marketing within the Apprenticeships and Training sector, where she has been heavily involved in market research connected with the Government's Apprenticeship reforms. Her experience in analysing market trends and content creation sees her lead DSW's digital channels, providing industry specific insight and comment to inform and engage.