Head of Training and Professional Development
Fidelity International

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Sara P

00:00:03 I’m Sara P, and I’m Head of Training and Professional Development within FundsNetwork. Day to day really is to decide on the strategy for training our independent financial advisers. What I most enjoy about the job, is the ability to see a change in people. It’s a great, great result to see someone come at the end of a course, or at the end of a programme, that maybe’s taken them six months, and know that they’ve actually achieved something at the end of it, because of your support and your input.

00:00:29 I probably wasn’t a very good student. It just wasn’t an environment that suited me. Maybe I didn’t like the particular school, I don’t know, but it was just something that I wanted to get out, be independent, earn my own money, and I guess you can’t be that independent person at school. I didn’t really think about the qualifications, I probably didn’t work as hard as I should have done, but just wanted to get out and work, and experience life and do – do whatever came along really. So just went and worked in a shop, because it was the first job that came along, so I took it. It was a nice environment to be in, and to be treated like everybody else, I guess. And to be treated like an adult, for a change. Did well, found I could sell, moved into managing the branch at a fairly young age, and then – someone came along to advise me on a pension and I thought, hmm, I can do that.

00:01:14 Found it was something that I was interested in, and it was a skill I could transfer in terms of what I was doing with customers in the store, so that I could transfer that skill into advising clients, and off I went. I worked as an adviser for about – between five and six years, and then realised that if I wanted to move on in the industry, probably what I needed to do was to go and work for a larger company. And to move out of advising, and actually into a more back office role. And that’s when I moved into a training role. And that was quite a challenge, so a new set of skills had to be learnt, a new set of qualifications had to be taken, in order to achieve that role. Gaining qualifications along the way is I guess a must have, and I’ve had to make up for the time that I didn’t take at school to actually do that.

00:02:42 I spent seven years in the Territorial Army, which gave me my physical kicks I guess. Went out to Iraq for six months at the beginning of that conflict. And then when I came back from there after six months away from work, and after seven years in the TA, I thought I probably needed another challenge, in that I’d done ultimately everything I could possibly want to do. So – I tried another uniform I guess.  I work as a Special Police Officer, as a Constable, so – and I have done so for about the last three or four years. It’s a challenge to fit it in with work, because you do have to commit to about two hundred hours a year at a minimum, in terms of the police. So I fit it in at weekends, basically.  It’s nice to have those – those two sides to your life – where I have a huge amount of control actually, at work, but outside work in my careers, in my hobbies, whether it be through the TA or the police, then I can’t control that. And that gives that spontaneity that I guess I need. Along the way there’s lots of careers I’d have liked to have taken up, that might have been a bit more practical and energetic and physical, but a lot of what I do there I do outside work, so that it enables me to the job that I do now.

00:03:23 You can deal with most situations, and life deals you a lot of different situations, and it’s just a question of thinking it through before you do deal with it. I think I am more resilient with that viewpoint. If I take into account the things that I’ve seen, the things that I’ve done, it makes me view – maybe smaller problems that happen on a day to day basis – in a different way. And it’s helped me put them much more into perspective.

00:03:49 ENDS

Sara P is Head of Training and Professional Development within FundsNetwork. She went to work in retail straight from school, but decided to try the financial sector after chatting to a pensions advisor. Alongside her full time job, Sara spent 7 years in the Territorial Army, including a 6 month tour in Iraq. She now commits most of her weekends off to being a Special Police Officer.

More information about Vocational and industrial trainers and instructors

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

46%  male 
54%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Vocational and industrial trainers provide instruction in manual, manipulative and other vocational skills and advise on, plan and organise vocational instruction within industrial, commercial and other establishments.
No formal educational qualifications are required for entry, although most entrants have qualified in some other area of work and will require a Certificate in Training Practice. Professional qualifications are available from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. NVQs/SVQs in Training and Development are available at Levels 3, 4 and 5.
  • Assesses training requirements and prepares lectures, demonstrations and study aids;
  • Supervises trainee development, assists trainees with difficulties and prepares regular progress reports on each trainee for management;
  • Arranges work experience and instructional visits for trainees;
  • Plans curriculum and rota of staff duties and updates or amends them in light of developments;
  • Advises on training programmes and discusses progress or problems with staff and trainees;
  • Devises general and specialised training courses in response to particular needs.
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