A toast to the next five years

Sunday, 01 September 2013
Rosemary Marr, Chair of the Professional Development Committee, introduces the professional development focus.

STEP is in the midst of a member consultation (STEP Consultation 2021) that will feed through to the planning process for the Society’s next five-year business plan. As I look back over the past five years I feel a sense of achievement on behalf of the Professional Development Committee (PDC) and all the other stakeholder groups involved in taking STEP’s education offering forward, notably our chief training partner, CLTI.

Learning opportunities

We now have a bank of learning material – full diplomas, certificates and advanced certificates – that enables us to offer members and aspiring members a wide range of learning opportunities to match their interests and desired career paths. As well as the existing advanced certificates – in Family Business Advising, Trust Disputes, UK Tax for International Clients, Mediation, Will Preparation, and International Succession and Probate – we have Working with Family Offices and Advising Vulnerable Clients coming up in the next year. At certificate level, two certificates have hit the ground running: Financial Services (Trusts and Estate Planning) and Foundations.

It’s vital to recognise the increasing importance of CPD in members’ lives, and STEP’s duty to support members by running a CPD scheme that is relevant and useful

However, it is the Advising Vulnerable Clients Advanced Certificate that, I think, may create new avenues for STEP, as demographics tell us that the elderly market is becoming critical. This market offers STEP members great scope, but also presents the Society with opportunities to meet a broader public need. Having said that, the growth in the family-office sector (see the interview with Anthony Brewis and Michael Oliver, the authors of the Advanced Certificate in Working with Family Offices, on page 35) is also creating openings for STEP members, particularly in Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong. A STEP Advanced Certificate in Philanthropy Advising is certain to follow, and will complement the Family Office Advanced Certificate.

New initiatives

I’ve already started to look ahead and want to mention some initiatives for 2013 and 2014 that will bring benefits to STEP members.

Members will be able to access new resources from the CPD Centre as part of their membership. You can catch up on this initiative in the CPD News section (on page 28), but I think it’s vital to recognise the increasing importance of CPD in members’ professional lives, and STEP’s duty to support members by running a CPD scheme that is relevant and useful to members’ practices. With a new policy, a range of new resources and an online planning and recording system becoming available this year, I feel STEP and the PDC are giving CPD the attention it deserves.

STEP owes a great debt to employers for funding students in their STEP exams and, in essence, nourishing the Society. Hopefully the commitment of employers is repaid by the quality of the TEPs they employ. STEP would like to reinforce this relationship to enhance the win-win-win that sees employers, STEP students and members, and STEP itself benefiting from the relationship. In 2013 STEP will be launching the STEP Employer Training Scheme, an evidence-based set of standards for supporting learners, against which employers will be able to benchmark their training provision to STEP students and members. But more than this, employers will be able to use the recognition of their training standards to promote themselves to prospective recruits, internally to their business and to external stakeholders. In the early stages of development is the George Tasker Education Foundation – named to honour our founder – which will provide resources for education and research for the benefit of STEP members and branches. We will let you know more as this develops.

Life has never been dull at STEP on the education side, and the coming years look set to be no different, with exciting developments planned to benefit all STEP’s stakeholders. If I had a drink in my hand (I don’t, I promise!) I would be toasting to the past five years and to the next five years.

Enjoy reading this professional development special feature. I hope it gives you a taste of the progress of STEP’s professional development work.

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Rosemary Marr

Rosemary Marr TEP is Vice President of STEP and Senior Trust Director at NedGroup Trust (Jersey) Ltd.

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