View more on these topics

Lisa Winnard: Plugging the skills gap


As young people say goodbye to the summer and head back to school, college and university, just how many of them will be learning new skills to help them gain employment? It is an important question given  that employers, ministers and the Confederation of British Industry believe we need to make significant improvements in plugging the skills gap, otherwise our long-term economic recovery will stall.

Smaller businesses are particularly affected by skills shortages, with a number of studies suggesting companies are often held back from expanding by a shortage of skilled staff. IT and financial management are the most common skillsets cited as missing when hiring.

There are many theories as to why the skills system is broken, one of which being that we have had many years of students being guided to university level education. This does provide qualifications but it does not always provide the skills element which is crucial for businesses. 

More of a balance is needed to deliver effective advice to young people about all of the options available to them to ensure different training routes are encouraged, such as apprenticeships and traineeships. These provide a blend of practical and theoretical learning, with more access to skills development and on the job training. 

Much has been done over the past few years to develop more employer-led apprenticeship schemes, so let’s hope this will attract more young people to better quality programmes.

As HR director at Sesame Bankhall Group, the need for employees to have the core skills to benefit our business sits firmly on my agenda. Employers recognise a skills gap is emerging and it is seen as a key risk for the future. But there are lots of employers who are looking at how they can fill the gaps.

I recently met with the Financial and Legal Skills Partnership, which is an organisation supporting the development of a skilled workforce in the UK’s financial, finance and accountancy sectors.  We talked about the work it is doing to support employers in working with young people to help them to obtain skills and experience in the market. Some great programmes have been developed to provide access to skills. 

SBG is involved in many of the programmes, such as Get In, Get On which entails becoming an online career mentor for young people on “virtual” work experience.  

At the Financial Adviser School, we recognise qualifications alone will not develop our students into becoming financial advisers. Skills and experience gained with clients is critical. That is why the delivery of business skills, adviser skills and soft skills are fundamental to our programme.

Meanwhile, some good news for the financial services sector. This month, financial education became a compulsory part of the national curriculum for all maintained schools in England. It will be part of citizenship lessons for 11-to-16-year-olds. This opens up more awareness about jobs and careers in financial services, which has always been a challenge for the sector.

Lisa Winnard is HR director at Sesame Bankhall Group



Alex Salmond resigns as Scottish first minister

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has stepped down as leader of the Scottish National Party and leader of Scotland. Salmond led the Yes campaign in the Scottish referendum on whether the country should become independent. The campaign was defeated by 55 per cent to 45 per cent in yesterday’s vote. Salmond first became SNP leader […]

Ian McKenna: Wearable tech will change protection forever

Watch 2.0 is, among other things, the most powerful healthcare device ever known.  It could do to the insurance industry what the iPod did to music.  Until last week, wristwatches were often seen as a symbol of success; discreet jewellery that could identify financial achievers in life, usually without being too flashy. Last week, Samsung, […]


HSBC settles mortgage claim with US regulators for £338m

HSBC will pay $550m (£338m) to US regulators to settle claims it missold mortgage-backed securities to US mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The BBC reports the lawsuit had accused HSBC of making $6.2bn (£3.8bn) of mortgage-backed securities look like they met regulatory guidelines, when they did not. HSBC has previously denied the allegations. […]

Global energy: positioning for a recovery in the oil price Š

Richard Hulf explains how he and John Dodd have positioned the Artemis Global Energy Fund and where they are finding opportunities. Richard explains how he and John are changing the complexion of the fund to focus on the most efficient oil producers. As he tells journalist Alexis Xydias, in this environment of lower prices, he […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers. Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm