For many people, this is the time of year to think about where their life is going in terms of career and what they can do to improve their prospects. If you are reading this it probably means that you have at the back of your mind the slight possibility of undertaking a professional qualification.
But, why bother?
People have different drivers for undertaking a professional qualification. They may have a deep-seated desire for lifelong learning, or maybe they are doing it for a career change. Speaking personally, I decided to undertake professional qualifications for 3 main reasons:
- To have a piece of paper that proved that I knew what I was talking about from an established and well thought of organisation.
- To get a pay rise – yep that’s right. Most people’s pay is linked to progression on professional qualifications and experience.
- To get a promotion.
Googling ‘professional qualifications’ you get a gazillion hits, so it is important you choose the right qualification provider and the right qualification. You could pay £10 to the Regal United British Banking Institute of Super-duper Honours who would issue you with a gilt-edged certificate. However, is this worth the paper your certificate is printed on?
How to choose who to study with
To help with the process of selecting a professional body to study with, let’s create a quick checklist of what you should be looking for:
The awarding organisation must:
- Have a good reputation within the sector;
- Have been established long enough to build up some credibility;
- Be governed by the highest standards;
- OFQUAL accredited, so wherever in the world I might go my qualification, its level and transferability are recognised; and
- Have a rich pool of alumni that can act as champions, mentors and advocates of the organisation
An organisation like… The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF). Now that you have established that you are going to study with LIBF, what qualification should you do? In my view the actual qualification must:
- Be practical
- Help me do my job
- Be up to date – I want to know what is going on right now and ideally what might happen tomorrow
- Written by experienced professionals
- Be interesting
- Be presented in an easy way to work through.
- Ensure that it caters for all learning types (i.e. something for me to watch, listen, read, do and seek help on)
- Provide a platform for me to move on to other higher-level qualification
Full disclosure, as one of the authors of the newly launched Level 4 Risk and Regulation in Banking (RRB) I am biased but I think that RRB meets all of these criteria and more. Let’s look at why.
RRB has been designed, written and reviewed by some big hitters who are working in the banking industry right now.
The materials are practical and up to date. You will come away knowing the economic environment in which banks operate, causes and consequences of past crises, key risks that banks face right now, how to measure them and the capital requirements they must hold. You will also learn about some of the key developments such as the emergence of challenger banks and forthcoming regulations such as ringfencing. Most importantly this content is not scary as it starts from first principals.
What’s more you are supported through the process with a written study guide, accessible online and in PDF, videos, interviews, online tutorials, practice questions and guided by an experienced online tutor.
Sounds good but still not sure?
Well the entire qualification can be done in about 12 weeks, spending 8 hours per week (almost do-able purely on a weekly train commute for some of you). The 90 minute exam is multiple choice and can be sat anywhere globally at a Pearson VUE centre so there is no need to travel miles to take the exam either.
Even after all that, you are still not convinced you can find out more on the Level 4 Risk and Regulation in Banking Qualification.