How the trade body for the debt collection industry helps organisations to attract new talent and upskill their staff with work-based learning by Jamie Skiggs is Training & Compliance Administrator from Credit Services Association (CSA)
When I joined the Credit Services Association (CSA) last year, I had heard the term ‘trade association’ previously but was not fully aware of all of its activities. Now that I’ve been working for the CSA for over a year, it has introduced me to the benefits that a trade association can provide to an industry, through measures such as complaint handling, lobbying, and training.
When I started the job, I had a slightly negative perception of the industry from what I’d seen on TV and online, but I came into it with an open mind. I’m glad I did because it wasn’t long before I realised exactly how rewarding a career in this industry can be.
it is important to make people aware that debt collection is an area of huge potential for those that are looking to start or change their career
Debt itself, although a lot of people may not think it, universally touches on everyone’s lives in some way or another. I soon became aware that the debt collection sector is made up of professional, ethical, regulated organisations (CSA members), that abide by the industry standard, the CSA Code of Practice, and undertake complex work to engage with their customers who need to be treated fairly and carefully.
As far as careers are concerned, the industry is currently suffering from a large skills shortage, and recruitment drives are at an all-time high. That’s why, now more than ever, it is important to make people aware that debt collection is an area of huge potential for those that are looking to start or change their career. There are many transferable skills that can be brought from other sectors where jobs may be scarce – and this is where the CSA Learning and Development department (which I work for), comes in.
The complex skills required to work in the debt collection sector can be gained through the CSA’s cutting-edge learning & development programmes. As well as being a trade body, it has an award-winning Learning and Development department which offers a wide range of courses and initiatives to help organisations train new staff and upskill, or re-skill, current ones. It also sits on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) and offers a number of apprenticeships standards at a range of levels in Credit Control, Advanced Credit, Regulatory Compliance, Counter Fraud, and Debt Advice. Roles within this sector require a wide range of skills, and those who complete on-the-job apprenticeships for example, will be highly employable.
One of my proudest moments so far has been my involvement in the development and recent launch of a new online learning platform – the Collections Learning Initiative (CLI). The platform is an affordable and effective way to upskill collections staff at all levels, giving them instant, convenient access to high quality, flexible virtual training materials tailored to the needs of the individual and the business. As part of my research to create materials for the CLI, I visited a CSA member and listened to a number of customer calls. I was very impressed with the empathy and professionalism shown by the customer service agent and how they did everything they could to help. I could then put this knowledge back into the CLI product to ensure the content available would match and meet the already consistently high industry standards that are out there. There will be 12 modules in the CLI and will include topics such as customers in vulnerable situations, compliance process systems and working practices in the debt collection industry, and trace and Investigation techniques.
CSA training programmes offer employees of CSA member firms and wider organisations that require these skillsets, such as Local Authorities, government agencies, insurance firms, and banks, the opportunity to gain qualifications and training that will enable them to build a successful career pathway in professional services.
Having only worked for the CSA for over a year, and what I’ve seen achieved in that time, I am excited to see what is next on the agenda and how this will strengthen my own career pathway, as well as helping others with theirs.
For more information on the CSA’s Collections Learning Initiative or CSA Apprenticeships, please visit www.csa-uk.com.
The Credit Services Association (CSA) is the only National Trade Association in the UK for organisations active in the debt collection and debt purchase industry. The Association, which has a history dating back to 1906, has over 250 member companies. As the voice of the collections industry, our vision is to build confidence in debt collection by making the entire process clear, easy to understand and less stressful for all those involved.
CSA Apprenticeships are provided by CSA (Services) Ltd as a subsidiary of the Credit Services Association.