01 July 2010 Issue 7 Clare Colacicchi

Education, education

New opportunities for professional development through STEP.

Through our education programmes, STEP aims to provide suitable training for those new to trusts and estates, and also to more experienced practitioners, including STEP members and those we work with in the financial services world as well. Year on year, STEP puts more resources into its education provision, and we work hard to provide relevant programmes across the world. The popularity of the Diploma in International Trust Management and the Diplomas in England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland has been proved by the large numbers of students taking these courses, despite the restrictions on individual and employer training budgets in recent times. Also, this year we have seen the first students taking exams in the Canada Diploma, which looks set to gain the strong position that our Diplomas have in other jurisdictions. A lot of care has been taken in deciding on the structure and content of the Diploma in Canada in order to ensure the Diploma meets our exacting standards and is also relevant to practitioners across Canada.

We continually review our Diplomas both as to content and means of delivery. One outcome has been the development of an ethics programme, which we will be introducing later this year. This reflects our policy of providing a broad grounding in the professional aspects of our work as well as the technical issues.

We also intend to provide more specialised training both at the introductory as well as the intermediate / advanced level. Therefore we are developing a number of Certificates for STEP students and also for STEP members and affiliates. We have recently introduced the STEP Certificate for Financial Services in the UK, which has seen considerable demand. This is intended for financial advisors, and provides an introduction to trusts and estates, the role of trustees, related tax topics and also looks at incapacity issues, within the context of financial services. Those studying the Certificate become an affiliate on completion or can go on to study the Diploma and become STEP members.

We have also recently launched the Foundation Certificate for Civil Law, which will provide an introduction to trust and estates for those working in civil law jurisdictions, whether in Europe, South America or Canada.

We are working on a Diploma for Northern Ireland, following the increase in the number of members there and the call for STEP training.

We have also developed a Certificate in Will Drafting, which is intended to be suitably challenging. Initially this will be introduced in England and Wales, but the intention would be to develop this and other such Certificates in other jurisdictions where there is a need.

The development of these Certificates is ambitious, but as we have seen, the demand for STEP training at all levels increases year on year. In expanding our education provision, we rely considerably on the professional assistance of our Director of Education, Nigel Race and also of Central Law Training, which is our authorised provider for the International and England and Wales Diplomas.

We are also keen to increase the Continuing Professional Development materials provided through conferences, branch events, the STEP Journal, Technical Briefings and STEP TV.

The focus, as always, is to ensure our education provision is consistently of a high quality and to make it relevant to trust and estate practitioners and our colleagues in wealth management across the world.


Clare Colacicchi