Back to the classroom
The new job has a residential training course that everyone has to attend, so I’ve been back to the classroom. With one week down, there’re three weeks left to go.
It still seems odd to me that after gaining a CeMAP qualification, which is no easy feat in itself, the company then requires a further month of training for their mortgage advisers.
That said, a lot of it is around the sales process that they want to be followed, and if I’m honest, as long as it helps me to do my job and earn money, then I’m more than happy to do it.
Because last week included a Bank Holiday, the course started a day later than it normally would, and the missing day is somehow made up in the following few weeks.
Frustratingly, the first five days are all geared towards exams, and as such I’ve been studying Generic Mortgage, General Insurance and other insurance products in a classroom environment day by day. Each morning starts with an exam which has an 80% pass mark.
We’ve been told that we get three attempts to pass each exam. If we don’t pass by the third attempt then - apparently - the company will do their best to redeploy us in an Estate Agent role.
I don’t think anyone in a mortgage role would want to do an estate agency role in much the same way that many estate agents don’t fancy making the switch in the other direction.
I’ve been hampered all week by a cold when has caused my nose to be blocked and my head to feel like it’s full of cotton wool. In fact, the first night of the course I was asleep by 8.30pm, I felt so rough and slept pretty much solidly for 11 hours.
It hasn’t seemed to dampened my enthusiasm too much, though. I’m still doing my best to take part in the classroom and be as interactive as possible.
Experience tells me that the trainers on these courses are always quick to pass back any feedback that they can to managers about the new recruits, and I have a sneaky suspicion that there is more than a little leeway when it comes to how harsh they can be in certain scenarios with their students. Perhaps not so much in a written test where an answer is either wrong or right, but certainly in roleplays which is the next stage of things.
With four tests down, and four passes to my name (thank God!) I have one more written test to do tomorrow. Unfortunately, the information for that just isn’t sinking in no matter how many times I read and re-read it.
I think another skimming of the material tonight and then a quick cram session in the morning will help, and though I’m aiming for 100% (as I always do), I’d be quite happy with a flukey 80% which would be a pass.
There are 8 others on the course. The youngest is 19, which means he was born AFTER Euro 96 - An event that I remember clearly. There’s some in their twenties and the rest in our 30s and 40s.
One of them is from Chelmsford, which is odd as it’s a course for people across the UK and there’s two of us from the same place. There’s a couple from Bedfordshire, one from the South coast and a few more from the North West.
It seems odd having a training centre for the UK that is based in Dartford, but I’m not complaining. It takes me 15 minutes to drive to the hotel (yes, they have put me up in Holiday Inn Brentwood, less than 20 miles from home), and then another 15 minutes to get to the training centre. That’s far better than some people who have five-hour drives ahead of them today.
The hotel has been disappointing. There’s not been a single morning where I haven’t woken up with the driest throat in the world. It doesn’t matter if I have the window open or shut, or the air con off.
It started badly when I first checked into my room to find that it hadn’t been cleaned from the previous night. Though the staff were quick to change my room, I think it set the tone.
A rather sniffy maître d’ made all of us feel uncomfortable on more than one occasion with her insistence that if we wanted to eat in the restaurant in the evening, we needed to order our food by 3.30pm to make it easier (a request which has been roundly ignored).
The week was rounded off when I had dinner on Thursday night and found what looked very much like a pubic hair in my carbonara. I pushed the dish to one side and when the waitress came around and asked if everything was ok, I mentioned the hair to which she apologised and said she’d tell the chef, which I’m sure makes it all better… (does the sarcasm in my writing shine through enough here?)
For now, I should quit wittering. I should also consider putting my XBox controller in the post to myself so that I don’t get distracted and end up playing FIFA all day, but I don’t think that will happen. I remember a time when I had some willpower, though it was a long time ago now. I need to get back to the hotel tonight and back to the classroom tomorrow.