Continuous development key to young achiever Paul who leads by example
Paul Wiggins is a firm believer in leading by example. Working for BPW Insurance in Newport he began his Apprenticeship in General Insurance in November 2011, completing it within 12 months, passing all the required exams first time.
But that was not the end of the story. Just because he had achieved his apprenticeship did not mean he wanted to end his professional development.
Far from it; his next goal was an Advanced Diploma in Insurance and to become a Chartered Insurance Broker, which he achieved in two years instead of the standard five years.
“It is extremely important for me to achieve as high as I can and to lead by example. Continuous development is important no matter what level you’re at in business. My view is that you have to keep sharpening the sword and always look to improve,” he said.
His learning journey has won him a place in the final of this year’s prestigious VQ (Vocational Qualification) Awards in Wales. He is one of six finalists in the running to become VQ Learner of the Year at the showpiece awards ceremony on June 9, the eve of VQ Day, at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff.
Organised by the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and CollegesWales, the VQ Awards help to showcase individuals and organisations that have raised the standard of the services they offer as a result of vocational qualifications.
The awards, which are part funded by the European Social Fund, are now in their eighth year and coincide with Vocational Qualifications Day – a UK-wide celebration of vocational qualifications for students, teachers, training providers and employers – which is held on June 10.
Paul is heavily involved in the regulatory side of the business. “I feel that having the relevant qualifications and experience gives me the authority to deal with the regulator, demonstrating I know what I’m doing and talking about” he said.
Acorn Learning Solutions Ltd provides training support for BPW Insurance and nominated Paul for the VQ Young Learner of the Year Award.
In 2014/2015, Paul was president of the Cardiff branch of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) ‘Young Professionals Group’. Through his role as president, Paul was keen to promote the need for continued development and vocational qualifications. He also continues to provide support to other young members within the group.
Paul was named the CII ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ for 2014/2015 and also won one of 10 national places on the CII’s ‘New Generation Programme’.
The other VQ Learner of the Year finalists are: Casey Coleman, 28, salon artistic director at Ocean Hairdressing, Cardiff; James Pepper, 39l technical services director at Vista Retail Support Ltd, Pentwyn, Cardiff; former Bridgend College learner Michael Whippey, 23, a chief instructor at Shardeloes Farm Equestrian Centre, Amersham; former Bridgend College learner Serena Torrance, 23, of Maesteg who is taking a criminology degree at Cardiff University and former Coleg Sir Gar learner Simon McCall, 21, from Capel Dewi, a self-employed carpenter and member of the WorldSkills UK Squad.
The VQ Learner the Year Award recognises learners who clearly demonstrate progression and excellence in vocational studies and have made considerable achievements in their field.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James congratulated Simon and his fellow VQ Awards finalists.
“A VQ Award is more than just an award; it’s a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession,” she said. “Professional and personal development programmes are utilised for staff to enable them to follow a pathway of learning to meet company, customer and individual needs.
“The VQ Awards help us to celebrate those Welsh employers and learners who are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing vocational skills and qualifications.
“If the Welsh economy is to continue to grow then we must ensure that employers, individuals and the Welsh Government work together to invest in the right skills for success in order to equip Wales with a world class work force.”