The recent 2021 ifa Excellence Awards were a banner occasion for the Deakin Financial Planning team which won in two award categories.
Deakin won Training and Education Provider of the Year as well as the overall IFA Excellence award for Company of the Year.
The ifa Excellence Awards are the industry’s most prestigious and celebrate professional development and innovation, showcasing both the individuals and firms that are leading the way in the independent financial advice industry.
Director of Financial Planning at Deakin, Mr Marc Olynyk says “The financial planning team is extremely proud to have won two best of category awards. It was a great team effort, and it wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have a very committed and proactive support team behind us, constantly looking for opportunities to improve our teaching and course offerings as well as the support we provide to our students.”
“We would like to express our thanks to the IFA and the various category judges for their continued support and promotion of the financial planning profession. These awards go a long way towards promoting all the great innovations, achievements and best practices that are taking place within the profession which are important to highlight and promote to the community and the next generation of advisers.”
The awards confirm the value of a strategy pursued over a number of years says Mr Olynyk, “The focus of our agenda has been twofold. Firstly, to build effective and mutually beneficial partnerships with key industry players and secondly, to develop teaching delivery models that are attuned and tailored to the needs of our student cohort.”
These two areas were seen as crucial to position Deakin as the leading provider of quality and innovative financial planning programs that are closely aligned to the needs of students and the emerging profession.
The backing of Deakin Business School has also been crucial, he said, as it recognised the importance and opportunities available in financial planning education and provided the resources and staffing to support its growth and the quality of the School’s programs.
Building effective industry linkages strongly aligns with today’s marketplace, where students are increasingly looking for innovation, flexibility, industry connection, and support through their education journey.
“Searching for the right business partners that have similar values and a focus on the importance of educating the next generation of financial planners takes considerable time and effort, but the rewards are significant,” says Mr Olynyk.
“We have particularly focussed on establishing partnerships that provide access to expertise and opportunities that ensure the ongoing relevance and currency of our courses, that create education pathways so students can move seamlessly through their education journey and that provide professional connections, networking opportunities, and pathways into employment.”
Recent examples of successful partnerships include an agreement with TAL insurance, creating a pathway for current advisers to translate studies through the TAL Risk Academy and receive credit into Deakin’s postgraduate financial planning courses.
Another recent agreement established with Financial Standard provides students with complimentary access to an extensive content library of industry-leading educational and technical resources through the FS Aspire CPD platform.
Deakin Financial Planning’s strong links with key financial planning professional associations also provide students with the opportunity to connect with the profession and develop expertise in specialist and emerging knowledge areas. This has been achieved through an innovative course structure that embeds a number of professional designations and certifications into the Master of Financial Planning.
Students can now graduate with a Master’s qualification, while also satisfying the education requirements of a professional designation, including the FPA’s CFP® program, the SMSF Specialist Adviser (SSA™) program and the Accredited Aged Care Professional™ program from Aged Care Steps.
After listening to advisers whose needs were not met by traditional online course delivery, Deakin developed its innovative intensive learning program.
This teaching delivery model offers greater flexibility, a more supported learning environment and enhances students’ ability to network and connect with their peers. Now, half of the postgraduate financial planning program is offered in intensive mode, giving extremely time-poor professionals the educational support they need to thrive.