Attending a workshop can be somewhat daunting, and for many of our students it’s the first time that they have entered a classroom in years. But the workshop experience, without doubt, is one of the most beneficial and interesting ways that you can learn. Yes, I work in the marketing department; no I’m not biased (honest guv’nor).
I recently attended a workshop for the ICA Certificate in Financial Crime Prevention (FCP) and I was, I’ll admit, a little anxious about what the day had in store. While I’ve worked in marketing for some time, I’ve never had the pleasure of working in financial services or risk and compliance.
My plan was to go incognito, but, alas, I had no such luck. The course tutor, Andrew Clarke, asked us to introduce ourselves – and somewhat put on the spot, I said I worked in marketing at ICT. While this may be true, and I love my job, I didn’t want to stand out as an employee of ICT (plus ad men, marketers, estate agents, recruitment consultants – we’re not on the guest list of favoured dinner guests) but despite this, it turns out you compliance guys and gals are a good bunch and not once did you make me feel unwelcome (or like a social pariah, so thanks for that).
The workshop experience is a fantastic one, so I don’t want to give a prescriptive list of things you must do while you’re there. On the contrary, the great thing about the workshop is that it is very much student-lead. You dictate the flow, energy and atmosphere of the experience. Of course, there are some ways that you can enhance that experience:
1. Be prepared
OK, so this isn’t necessarily our advice as the Boy Scouts have this one covered, but going into your workshop prepared is imperative (yes, imperative). Workshops are designed to be interactive, but they are not designed to compete with the course manual. Make sure that you read the manual, take some notes and go through it with a highlighter: whatever your study method (and we all have one) make sure that you READ the manual. This will help you prepare for the workshop in a more robust way, help you understand the course material and ultimately help you to pass.
2. Take notes
While the course is comprehensive, and the workshop comes with a guide full of activities and theoretical concepts, it’s important you take your own notes. Why? The course tutor, and your fellow students, will have a raft of real-life experience that will undoubtedly be discussed during the workshop. This experience – this practical nature – is what helps you understand the theoretical aspects of your subject matter. Notes, therefore, will prove to be a fantastic and irreplaceable aid when it comes to revising for the exam.
3. Take the exam as soon as possible
… while we’re talking about exams, remember it’s not just the workshop and the manual that you have committed to, you have also committed to the exam too. No pressure. Andy, the course director, advised that we take the exam as soon as possible as a lot of the material covered in the course will be of assistance. And, you’ll be reveling in the energy of your workshop; it makes sense to take the exam while you’re still feeling pumped.
4. Don't be afraid to ask questions
The workshop is your time to shine, so go in prepared (see point one) and ask a ton of questions. Put your hand up and ask away. Get that discussion going with your peers, and learn from each other. After all, the collective wealth of experience of you and your classmates will make for a more robust learning experience if you all participate.
5. Relax, get stuck in and enjoy the experience
At the risk of trotting out a well-worn cliche, the most important thing is to enjoy the experience. After all, learning is, and should be, fun. Get your nerd on, and enjoy the ride!
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