Those of you who are regular readers of my blogs will have gathered that I remain (mostly) office based (as I’m the only non-teacher in the ICT academic team). This means that I’m often in the best position to chat to people who are interested in taking one of our courses, but would like a bit of advice on which might be ‘best’ for them.
So here goes. Let’s pretend you’ve just phoned me, wondering which course to do…
So what do I tell you?
Essentially, there are two main pieces of advice I normally give to delegates when discussing courses:
- Select a course you are interested in – it will help you study it. This could be a personal or professional interest.
- Understand the time commitment required. Especially at Diploma level, where you will need to ramp up the study hours put in around assignment submission dates and the run up to the exam.
Ultimately point 1 really has to be your call. But I can give you some more info…
Anti-Money Laundering (AML) is probably the most buoyant of all the areas of our current programmes. It certainly seems to be the case in respect of job market opportunities – probably driven by the increased regulatory scrutiny and media interest (keeping it contemporary – have you seen the BNP action confirmed today?)
You could also consider the ever-popular ICA Compliance programmes. Compliance is possibly broader and more generally applicable, covering areas such as culture, ethics and corporate governance. It currently also contains a Unit on AML and a Unit of Financial Crime – so this would give you taster of these topics. There is also financial crime though - the ICA Financial Crime Prevention (FCP) offerings focus on non-AML FCP, so there is a strong emphasis on fraud, along with anti-bribery & corruption, e-crime and so forth.
And what level should I choose?
Well, in terms of content, the ICA Certificate programmes provide a strong foundation understanding of the key concepts and issues involved. The Advanced Certificates and Diplomas will support practical work and also expand knowledge and skill. You need to bear in mind though that as the academic level increases, so does the breadth and depth of the material, and the difficulty level / volume of the assessments.
If you felt able to make the commitment to the Advanced Certificate or Diploma, and were doing so from an informed position in terms of the amount of work required, then you could potentially go straight in for one of these higher levels. The Diploma in particular was primarily designed for senior / experienced staff but we do increasingly have delegates who want to get to this level of qualification as a stepping stone into the subject matter spheres.
The level of commitment in terms of study is commensurate with your existing knowledge ie: the less prior knowledge / experience you have, the more study time you will likely need to put in.
We want to be transparent
It is of course incumbent on us at ICT to ensure you understand the amount of work required and are comfortable with that. As long as you are OK with this, you could certainly consider the higher level courses.
Alternatively, you could start with a Certificate, which would provide a sound stand-alone qualification, as well as an excellent base from which to go on and do the higher levels, should you so wish.
Sum it up for me, Dave.
Right you are.
In summary, I’d suggest you consider the time & cost implications of each programme - but ultimately it has to be your call as it has to fit in with your schedule, ambitions and so forth. Whichever you choose, I’m sure you’ll find it interesting and rewarding. And if you go with the workshop option, you’ll get to meet the tutors, share best practice and network with other delegates.
Thanks for your call - we look forward to receiving your application…
So there you go.
If it’s something you are pondering, hopefully that’s helped?
If not, I’ll speak to you soon!