Reflecting on your career – and the learning you've gained from experience – is the new way to become chartered in banking. But how does it work? And how does it help you become more employable? Trevor Russell answers our questions about tutoring on our Professional Experiential Route (PER).
How does PER help advance careers?
The world of work is changing substantially. In a changing environment we should always be aware of how to market ourselves to prospective employers.
PER helps people do that.
It helps people demonstrate their skills and the increased knowledge they’ve gained from their experience. That helps them, whether they’re applying for promotion in their own organisation or roles elsewhere.
Then there’s being chartered, which is the highest recognition in banking and testament to an individual’s professionalism. PER is an alternative route to chartered status, which in itself makes someone more marketable – whether that’s to a potential employer or your organisation’s customers.
How does PER work?
PER encourages student learning through reflective practice.
It will challenge you to step back, look at what you’ve done over your career and examine four scenarios in detail. As tutors, we work with PER students to help them decide what those scenarios might be. For example, it could be IT based, customer based or about relationships with colleagues or strategic leadership.
For each scenario, you’ll ask yourself:
- what went well?
- what didn’t go so well?
- what would I do differently next time?
Because, as Henry Ford said, “If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got."
Inevitably we will have done something quite well but could we have built on that? Or may be things didn’t quite go as we planned. And if not, why not?
The strength of PER is that it builds on the opportunity to be reflective and gets people to think differently – to become more reflective.
How do tutors support PER students?
We help them succeed. For that it’s important to build a rapport and communicate – either through email, telephone, or if possible face to face.
Confidentiality is key and I think it helps to have an understanding of the work that your student does. I’m lucky! I have worked in finance for over 30 years so I’ve experienced many of the things that my students discuss with me, because our career paths are similar.
What makes a good PER tutor?
A combination of banking knowledge together with giving students the confidence they can share issues that are beyond the immediacy of studying.
What’s the secret to succeeding in PER?
To be successful in the assessment process, you’ve got to
- do the reading,
- do the research, and
- ultimately be reflective.
I call these the three ‘Rs’ – read, research and reflect, but not always in that order.
What’s the most common challenge people face when doing PER?
Being able to undertake research and write at third-year degree level. That’s not easy!
PER students tend to be extremely good at writing business reports but most have very little experience, if any, of writing academically. So, the challenge for a lot of them is making that transition.
I understand exactly what that’s like. I worked for Barclays and they trained in me to write a business report. But looking back – after more than ten years in academia – I can see those reports weren’t at Level 6 or third-year degree standard. I wrote those reports for my bosses, for the most part to confirm or deny a lending application.
Most of our students face similar challenges but they all do wonderfully well at overcoming them – with our support of course!
More about PER