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Apprenticeships offer new routes into financial services

The quest for new apprentices for financial services has stepped up a gear in the last couple of months.

Last month, The Chartered Insurance Institute announced that the total number of apprenticeships at financial services firms past 1,000 in the last 12 months.

CII relationship manager Casper Bartington says: “Crossing the 1,000 mark for new starters is a milestone for the sector and though the majority of recent apprentices are working in SME insurance businesses, we are beginning to see some well-known names offering technical apprenticeships for the first time.

This bodes well for the influx of the right talent into the profession and shows that sector businesses are retaining a presence in the job market and are not missing out on bright school leavers.”

The latest organisation to announce a new apprenticeship scheme is SimplyBiz owned New Model Business Academy.

The NMBA has teamed up with Babington Business College to design an apprenticeship scheme for businesses to take for school leavers looking for a way into financial services.

Under the scheme, businesses would offer school leavers a 12-month, full-time job in the business, during which time the apprentice would study for an entry level qualification. The qualifications on offer are an NVQ in providing financial services, a certificate in customer services or the CII’s FA1 exam in financial administration.

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NMBA chief executive Lee Travis

NMBA chief executive Lee Travis says: “Post-RDR, bringing in new blood is a lot further up our agenda.”

Travis says an apprenticeship scheme offers businesses a way to get new blood into the businesses and can also benefit the day to day running of a business.

Hiring an apprentice will be an excellent opportunity for most businesses, particularly small advisory firms. Financial advisers can be overly-burdened with administrative tasks which restrict on the amount of time they can spend doing what they do best – meeting and advising existing clients, and generating the right new clients.”

Travis says it is not just basic admin that apprentices can be beneficial for.

Travis says: “A young, enthusiastic apprentice will help with back office processing, product provider liaison, client administration and marketing. Also using their skills to create social media plans, keep the website up to date and help manage marketing databases for example. Any principal adviser looking for more resource should view this is an excellent opportunity.”

This is only the latest effort to use apprenticeships to bridge the gap between education and employment in financial services.

Last year, the Financial Skills Partnership launched a graduate apprenticeship programme to help address the skills shortage in financial services.

FSP chief executive Liz Field (pictured) says: “The benefits to employers of reaching out to young people are manifold and clear. There will be a flow of enthusiastic recruits who have a more accurate idea of what the industry is about prior to joining.

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Not only will they bring the fresh blood which financial sector businesses need to replace natural wastage and meet new regulatory and competitive challenges, individual organisations and the industry will also profit by opening up their workforce to become more diverse and thereby better able to service an increasingly diverse customer base in an increasingly competitive industry.”

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