As the COVID-19 crisis began to unfold, AFG’s Learning and Development (L&D) and Events programs switched direction to meet the vital learning and development requirements of the AFG broker network.
Supporting brokers with up to date information and ensuring they can maintain their professional development requirements in a virtual world – including attaining CPD points – has been vital, according to AFG Head of Sales and Distribution Chris Slater. “From the moment the crisis hit, we have made sure our focus was on supporting our brokers. They have been at the forefront of the massive financial impacts the pandemic has had, and their customers have needed support through this time.”
“Australia continues to perform an enviable job of flattening the curve, but it is impossible to say when things will return to normal, and indeed elements of what we have experienced since the lockdown commenced may even become our new normal.”
AFG has redesigned its L&D program with a focus on informative, timely and relevant content. “We are seeing exceptional numbers taking advantage of our program, with the strong uptake of our virtual sessions demonstrating how much our brokers appreciate this content during this uncertain period.”
“Since restrictions commenced, we have had more than 10,000 registrations for our myriad of webinars and virtual sessions. Whether it be keeping them up to date with the market, the lenders and what they are offering or support for the shifting circumstances of their customers, we are reacting in real-time to support our brokers and their clients,” said Chris.
Another big focus has been on increasing the volume of professional development courses available to brokers on AFG’s LEARN platform. “We now have 500 courses available to brokers. In April alone, AFG brokers have completed around 12,769 courses and achieved 7146 CPD hours.”
The volume of content posted to AFG’s online broker portal has also risen significantly, with rolling COVID-19 updates on Government, lender, health and wellbeing, industry and AFG policy changes and announcements.
“We quickly developed a dedicated wiki on our HELP portal to assist brokers in finding the right information at the right time. Brokers have moved rapidly to using this as a source of truth during COVID-19 with over 10,000 views in under two months,” he said.
AFG’s adapted L&D and event program includes an interactive Q&A COVID-19 focused weekly webinar, with full access every week to the AFG executive team, lender partners and industry experts, each delivering responsive content to the developing situation together with BAU content.
Recent guests have included:
- Kate Carnell, Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, speaking about the ways COVID circumstances have been impacting small business and the Government support available.
- Real estate leaders John McGrath, Founder and Executive Director of McGrath Real Estate, John Percudani, CEO of Realmark and Andrew McCann, Managing Director of Jellis Craig on the impact of COVID on the Australian residential and commercial property market.
- Michelle Maynard, Partner of Carbon, speaking about ATO concessions for business, stimulus package options for businesses, cashflow boost payments and details of the Government’s JobKeeper scheme.
“After many requests from non-AFG brokers and industry partners, we have also decided to open these webinars up to the entire industry. Any broker or industry professional can register via our social media pages or our website” said Chris.
“We are also working closely with our lender and industry partners to deliver tailored content via virtual sessions. These have included partner-hosted webinars in both the residential and commercial space, with tailored content focusing on COVID-19 updates and critical BAU information.”
The live webinars are recorded and posted to AFG’s Learning Management System platform for ongoing broker access on demand. In April alone, the team delivered 12 different webinars and virtual sessions with 5706 attendees.
“At a state level our Sales Managers and Partnership Managers are hosting interactive training sessions, forums and virtual coffee meeting programs with smaller groups of local brokers meeting online with their peers and hearing from lender and industry partners as guest presenters,” he said. “We have also redesigned our customary face-to-face lender accreditation sessions to become virtual sessions.”
AFG is currently finalising plans for a lender and industry partner professional development event which will be deployed as a virtual session in coming months.
“During times of extreme change, adjusting the way that we deliver learning and development to support our brokers is of paramount importance,” concluded Chris.