Connect for Intermediaries has successfully run its first academy for new brokers on a virtual basis.
Connect has been running monthly Academy training at its offices since the beginning of 2019, and had already scheduled its next session for the week commencing 30 March, when the country went into lockdown.
The academies are designed to bring new advisers into the specialist mortgage industry. They are open either to brokers returning to the industry after a period of absence or for accountants, estate or letting agents, as well as other individuals experienced in property, who want to make the move into advice. The only requirement is that attendees join Connect’s network once they have completed the course.
Connect had five Academy attendees booked on the course and adapted the Academy so it could be delivered ‘virtually’ and the attendees could still become network members following the course.
This meant putting together a full week of ‘live’ training online, incorporating 15 different presenters delivering a range of training. The course covered how to fact find, research and present solutions. It also provided attendees with product knowledge in the areas of buy-to-let, bridging and commercial mortgages. Connect also held sessions on sales skills and how attendees can market their new businesses.
Jonathan Mann from Precise, who delivered one of the presentations, said: “It was brilliant to support Connect IFA and their new advisers remotely. The energy and enthusiasm from the advisers was amazing and showed that through the use of technology, we can all learn something and upskill every day.”
Liz Syms (pictured), CEO of Connect for Intermediaries and organiser of the event, added: “One of the challenges was teaching our Academy members remotely how to use software such as OMS and Knowledge Bank, which all our network members get access to as part of their membership. However, we only had minor technical hitches and got some great feedback from our attendees and presenters alike.
“It has made into reality, the possibility of reaching wider audiences for further Academy weeks without the attendees having to travel. This means we will be able to run further academies in this way both while the lockdown continues and even when it is over.”
The academy is also open to trainees or other new staff being taken on by existing members of Connect’s network. Through the academy Connect is actively helping its ARs who want to grow their businesses.
It gives attendees the regulatory frame work from which to trade, and also helps attendees develop their mortgage knowledge, with a focus on understanding the criteria and lender offerings in the specialist market.