The Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) has experienced an influx of new memberships and training activity over the last 12 months.
The wills and probate regulator has seen a growth in those wanting to become Full and Associate members of IPW and a demand for training courses since the start of the pandemic.
Since 2018, the number of new Full members joining increased from 55 in 2018, 67 in 2019 to 72 joining in 2020. The number of new Associates members (Associate members take instructions only, the Full member drafts the Will) also increased with 90 joining in 2019 and 150 joining in 2020.
Deb Wright, Membership Manager of IPW said:
“There has been a lot of interest and enquiries relating to membership and we’ve also sent out a lot of information by email.
“With regards to training……..it’s been a really different year. Before Covid, all of our courses and exams were attendance based, we very quickly had to come up with a plan to bring our courses and exams online. Lots of ideas from really knowledgeable and experienced people and the courses and exams have been converted to online, interactive webinars. These have been really successful, and we have had to limit numbers for quite a few courses as these filled up quickly. In November, we had to put on another 1 day Introduction to Willwriting course (this is for beginners) and also another 3 day Willwriting in Practice course.”
Kirsty Willoughby, Training and Membership Administrator at IPW commented on the demand for training courses. She said:
“We provided more training courses last year and also had higher number of attendees. We generally limit the number of attendees to 20 for each webinar but there were a few occasions last year when demand was so high we allowed a few more to book on. We also introduced a new training course last year, ‘A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your New Business’ which our newer members found particularly useful. We were able to run attendance based courses up until March, and then developed Webinars in June which were popular with members and allowed us to continue providing training throughout the pandemic.”
In 2020, there were 5 training attendance based courses, with up to 12 delegates maximum, but the majority had between 4-6 delegates, whereas, following the first lockdown, there was 27 online webinar based courses with up to 25 delegates.
Today’s Wills and Probate asked Kirsty Willoughby how their training courses were fairing in the first quarter (January to March 2021), she said:
“We have had a successful start to 2021 as our online training webinars still remain a popular choice with our Members. We would normally have between 6 and 12 delegates attending our classroom style courses where as we have had 22 delegates book onto one of this year’s webinars. There have even been some cases where we have had to put on more webinars as they have become oversubscribed.”
Figures from IPW for new memberships for the first quarter of 2021 confirmed they had slowed a little but were still up from 2020 figures in the same period (Jan-march 2020) before the first lockdown commenced.
Sue Ioannou TEP FIPW FCMI, Chair and Head of Training echoed the above confirming membership numbers have increased and they have run more training courses for trainees than ever. She said:
“We are pleased to report that despite the lock down we have seen a vast increase in membership applications over the last 12 months. This has had a very positive effect on overall membership figures and of course on the training courses that we provide for both student and newly qualified members. Training courses and exams were quickly adapted to run online and this has meant that more than the usual number of candidates have been able to train to become members, take their exams and continue with their training after their exams. As a result we are introducing further webinars in the next few weeks and a distance learning course will be available before the end of the month.”