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Paraplanning apprenticeship gets green light despite funding concerns

Speaking to Money Marketing, NMBA director Tom Hegarty says a 1 August application through the Education and Skills Funding Agency for further funding was confirmed last Wednesday.

While the sum is only half what the Simply Biz-owned group was expecting to receive, Hegarty says the apprenticeship will now go ahead.

Hegarty says: “The apprenticeship will help boost professionalism across the sector and also support advisers out there who need more help from qualified paraplanners.

“We also hope it will start creating a benchmark for paraplanners to aspire to.”

The first cohort is expected to have around 20 candidates and will start in early February to align with the beginning of NMBA’s next financial planning apprenticeship cohort.

The paraplanning apprenticeship will also be available for people who are already paraplanners but are not Level 4 qualified.

Hegarty says NMBA is on track to use up the £218,000 it received from the Education and Skills Funding Agency last December thanks to high interest in the financial planning apprenticeship since its April launch.

Plans for NMBA to launch an administrator apprenticeship have been shelved, however.

Hegarty says: “We have had second thoughts on it and in reality there are quite a few providers running that kind of programme, so rather than us duplicating others work, we are trying to fill the gaps that few organisations are managing to do.

“The administrator programme is also a Level 3 apprenticeship and just covers RO1 so the funding we now have could instead be used on programmes where there is a higher demand which is definitely in paraplanning.”

A recent survey NMBA conducted amongst its members had 71 per cent of respondents vote in favour of paraplanners being qualified to a Level 4 standard.

Hegarty says: “We are seeing a huge demand for paraplanning right across the industry and that is another reason why we should include a paraplanning apprenticeship in what we offer.”

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