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Frontier Development Capital

Author: ICAEW

Published: 02 Sep 2019

Frontier Development Capital believes it is essential to invest in its trainees. With the help of the ICAEW Level 7 Apprenticeship, their employees are realising their full potential.

Company profile

Frontier Development Capital (FDC) is an alternative investment fund manager, providing access to flexible investments up to £10million. Launched in 2016 as the natural evolution of Finance Birmingham, FDC is headquartered in Birmingham, with a presence in the North West and East Midlands. From growth capital to management buyouts, acquisitions to property developments, FDC offers local knowledge and a face-to-face service, via a 25 strong team of seasoned investment professionals.

By utilising levy funding on offer from Birmingham City Council, Frontier Development Capital has been able to offer ACA training to one of its graduate employees, Kathryn Hoverd, through the Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship. Not only has this given Kathryn significant personal and professional development, but the training and knowledge she’s gained has proved invaluable to the organisation.

As an ICAEW Chartered Accountant himself, Clive Broadhurst, Portfolio Director at Frontier Development Capital, has always recognised the value of the ACA qualification. His team works with investee companies to understand their financial performance, evaluate risk metrics and ultimately add value to help their businesses grow. Therefore, being able to offer the right advice and collaborate with investees to help them realise their full potential is a core part of the business. The ACA has provided the necessary skills and behaviours to help staff successfully achieve this.

Personal and professional development

The firm became authorised as an ACA employer in early 2018 which was a major step for them in terms of investing in a training programme to support the growth and development of the business.

For Clive, the key to putting employees through ACA training is the personal and professional development that’s gained. That way, both the firm and the trainee see the benefits of the programme. The ACA has given Kathryn the confidence to not only look at clients’ management information, but interpret and challenge it – which is key to her role as a Portfolio Executive. 

Whilst there is an associated cost and time away from the business, Clive comments on how Kathryn is rapidly developing as a professional and a financially astute individual, making the investment in her development of great value to the business.

Leading by example

As a firm that’s regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, there are a number of chartered accountants and banking-qualified personnel within the business. The ACA qualification and those who have studied it complement the skill set and environment in which they operate, as Clive explains: "We see the ACA as a good bedrock qualification in terms of the core skill set for the employees we want to develop and grow in our business."

"In particular, the ability to analyse financial statements and look diligently at the investments we are making - the core ACA training programme supplements that incredibly well."

Putting theory into practice

For Clive, the main attraction of the Level 7 Apprenticeship is the application of theory in practice and the soft skills gained, particularly when it comes to looking at financial statements and analysing legal case studies. "The theoretical knowledge that Kathryn gains on the ACA is brought to life with her day to day work in risk management that she gains working with us. We work hard to bring out the practical elements of what she’s learning on her training programme."

Of particular importance to Clive is the understanding and interpreting of financial information that clients provide on a monthly basis. The training programme to date has allowed Kathryn to analyse key trends and have the confidence to discuss with clients what that means within a practical environment. 

Investing in employees

Fundamentally, it was important to Clive that the course content worked for the firm, especially in terms of up-skilling and professional development which could be brought back into the business. Becoming an authorised training employer has raised the firm’s business profile amongst graduates who aspire to become a chartered accountant. This has resulted in them being able to attract and retain the best talent, whilst offering existing employees a range of training options for further development. 

As the ACA programme has worked so well for the firm, they plan to revisit the apprenticeship route in the future to fund additional trainees in the organisation as the business evolves in the next 24 months.

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