IFAs have spoken widely about the challenges and importance of bringing new blood into the industry, but what does the average day look like for an apprentice? I sat down with two newcomers to find out.

Gabby Houseman, 22, is an apprentice technical assistant and trainee financial planner at Milton Keynes-based Chartered firm Myers Davison Ginger.

Tom Parkinson, 19, is based in Christchurch and has been a Trailblazer Apprentice Financial Adviser at Heritage Investments for six months, as part of the Financial Adviser Apprenticeship Scheme launched by the government in January 2017 to support individuals to become qualified financial advisers.

Q&A with Gabby Houseman:

1) Why do you want to be a financial adviser?

The journey as well as the destination are uniquely challenging and rewarding.

A blend of technical knowledge and interpersonal skills through active client interaction has motivated me to pursue my career with Myers Davison Ginger (MDG).

I studied economics so I had already gained a basic understanding of the economy and finance, which I am looking forward to developing further.

2) Why have you turned to the Personal Finance Society for help?

As well as my working role within MDG, an important part of my job is to continue my development to become Chartered, Certified and a Fellow.

Keith and Josh Butten at Myers have structured a three year development plan which will hopefully see me achieve all three of these. An important component of this, whilst completing my Level 4 qualifications, is the PFS Apprenticeship Programme.

The programme has helped me with my technical learning whilst passing diploma exams, and the soft skills days focus on our interpersonal skills with clients and provided us with helpful tips in difficult situations.

Also the PFS programme is established in cohorts, so you spend your entire programme with the same group of young future financial advisers. This provides us all with an additional support network.

3) What do you hope to get out of the programme?

The programme has been brilliant. My own personal coach has come to visit me at work to check on my progress and organise the apprenticeship to ensure it is specific to me and MDG, and is always at the end of the phone.

I honestly found the soft skills day quite a challenge, role playing a client meeting for the first time was an awkward experience! But with some guidance from the coach I relaxed and gradually felt more at ease.

Experience like this is second to none, and will make me feel more confident when I sit in front of a client for the first time.

4) What do you get up to on an average day?

A typical day consists of aiding our financial planners with meeting preparation, using FE Analytics to assess portfolio performance and updating clients’ lifetime cashflow planning ahead of annual planning meetings.

I have also been fortunate enough to sit in a number of meetings with Keith and Josh to see how the preparation is delivered to the clients.

5) Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

As an authorised financial planner with MDG, having achieved Chartered, Certified and Fellow status - MDG has proven this is possible by successfully taking Josh through the very same journey.

I look forward to building strong and trusting relationships with the clients that I care for, ensuring that the advice they receive is of a very high standard.

This would be a fantastic achievement and I look forward to continuing my journey.

Q&A with Tom Parkinson:

1) Why do you want to be a financial adviser?

I have the ambition to become a Chartered financial adviser. I would love to help people with their finances and enable their money to work harder for them so they can enjoy life to its fullest potential.

The current uncertainty in strategic terms regarding Brexit etc., gives even more purpose to professional financial planning. On a personal basis, I like the daily interactions with clients. Being genuinely interested in people helps with the role of being a fully qualified IFA.

2) Why did you turn to the Personal Finance Society for help?

The Personal Finance Society and FWD provide a comprehensive training program with classroom days and a great number of specific webinars hosted by highly qualified trainers.

Clearly the apprenticeship scheme wouldn’t work without the help and support of firms willing to engage in the process and I was delighted when Heritage Investments offered me a place on the apprenticeship scheme.

Earning whilst learning shows the apprenticeship scheme offers a cost-efficient and viable alternative to going through the university route.

3) What do you hope to get out of the apprenticeship?

I’m thoroughly enjoying the apprenticeship as it has enabled me to become far more competent within the financial services sector. I’m learning something new every day – I suspect that will continue for many years to come.

4) What do you get up to on an average day?

Heritage has given me a role as an administrator. I prepare the review packs for the advisers along with doing the research on clients’ current policies to give the advisers a good understanding of their current investments.

I have sat in with advisers on client meetings to try to get a feel for how meetings should run.

5) Where do see yourself in 5 years time?

Clearly in the next five years I would like to be here with Heritage, building the business for our prosperous combined future.

My overall ambition at the moment is to become the youngest chartered financial adviser in the country.

Having foregone the university place I had been offered last year when I left school, I’m delighted that I have chosen my career path in financial planning.

Now, just that little issue of passing all those exams …