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97% of paraplanners expected to study in their own time

25 March 2019

In a survey conducted by Professional Paraplanner on whether studying for exams and CPD should be undertaken in or outside of office hours, paraplanners were overwhelmingly in favour of a combined approach. 

The results of the survey found 97% of paraplanners are expected to study for qualifications in their own time. In contrast, just 27% of those studying for CPD were expected to study outside of the office, with the remaining 73% studying within office hours.

Yet, the results showed 76% of respondents felt taking time out to study should be divided between work and personal time. Just 15% said it should be reserved solely for out of office hours, while 4% felt it should be undertaken during working hours.

One paraplanner in support of combining the two options said the minimum amount to study should be conducted within office hours, but those employees wishing to study further should do so in their own time.

Another echoed the sentiment: “This is a personal commitment which is beneficial for your own development and career, so no reason not to be undertaken at home. However, as it does also benefit the company, they should support your learning.”

The point was raised that other professions where exams are necessary such as accountancy are usually given time during work to carry out their studies.

One respondent suggested that courses should be attended during working hours, but reading and studying should be carried out outside of working hours.

The size of the firm also came into question, with one respondent saying larger firms would be in a position to allow studying during working time while for much smaller companies this option would not be feasible.

There was a divide between qualifications / exams and CPD, with paraplanners in favour of the latter being conducted during working hours.

One respondent told Professional Paraplanner: “General CPD should be allowed for in office time but exam study improves future employability and therefore I believe that personal development should be reflected in personal study time outside of the office.”

Among the 15% of respondents who felt studying should be undertaken outside of working hours, one made the point that if the employer is funding coursebooks, structured study packages and exams there needs to be “some willingness to study outside of office hours.”

Another said the priority should be upon client work and said there were not enough hours in the day to combine both work and studying.

For those paraplanners who work in a firm where allowances or facilities are made available for study during office hours, the most popular form of support appeared to be funding the cost of exams and offering study leave.

One respondent said one hour of work time a week was allocated for studying and all materials, books and the first exam sittings are paid for by their company.

Another said their firm also paid for exams, offering candidates two attempts at each exam.

Meanwhile, many firms are showing support for employees’ development by offering time off to study, with one respondent listing two days of study leave, while another said staff were given three study days for AF level exams.

A further respondent said employees receive four days paid leave for Level 6 exams, two days paid leave for Level 4 exams as well as full day leave for the day of the exam. Many respondents also said they use their lunch hour to study at their desk or in a meeting room.

Professional Paraplanner