A prestigious education grant has been awarded to a finance educator for the first time, showing the government is now taking a keen interest in the education and placement of financial planning graduates.
Renowned financial planning academic Dr Mark Brimble, associate professor (Finance) at Griffith University, has been tasked with developing a program to help financial advice graduates enter the workforce.
The government’s Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) recently announced Dr Brimble as the recipient of one of nine OLT Fellowships – the second one awarded to a business faculty member and the first to a finance academic since the program began in 2007, according to Dr Brimble.
“It’s a category one research grant, which is the highest you can get in Australia,” Dr Brimble told InvestorDaily.
“The fact it is in financial planning and there are all those issues around the employability of graduates, as well as collaboration and cooperation between educational institutions and the industry as employers, signals the Office of Learning and Teaching sees value in promoting the development of education within financial planning.”
According to an OLT statement, the program, titled 'Facilitating and promoting work-integrated learning in an emerging profession (financial planning)', will aim to develop “work-integrated learning standards that complement and are aligned with the National Financial Planning Curriculum and Accreditation Framework to improve student work-readiness, graduate capabilities and employability”.
Dr Brimble said the first stage, which will commence in September, is around raising awareness, putting together a steering committee and gathering views from stakeholders across the employer sector and students.
Most of the 2014 calendar year will involve interviewing academics and industry representatives around learning structures, and hopefully building a model that will become a national model to help develop the next generation of financial advisers that meets the needs of all stakeholders, he said.
The last stage leading up to October next year will focus on report writing, dissemination, presenting the outcomes and the resource toolkits and reporting back to the Commonwealth about the project.
In terms of the impact on industry, the project aims to engender greater participation from industry in the higher education process, Dr Brimble said.
This includes the addition of guest lecturers into programs, collaborating on the curriculum right through to internship programs.
“Once you get away from larger organisations, it’s hard for industry to build relationships with the university sector,” Dr Brimble said.
“It can be hard to find who to talk to about creating a framework for communication and collaboration to happen, and building models for that support to happen.”
The program is all about bringing all those stakeholders together and exploring how to cooperate to get the best student outcomes and help them to hit the ground running, he said.
“It also reflects the needs of employers, to help make sure [graduates are] appropriately equipped for their needs,” he said.
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