There are hopes within the financial industry that new government investment will open up new opportunities for apprenticeships. The Financial Skills Partnership has been awarded the funds to develop an employer-led Higher Apprenticeship framework to nurture talent in key areas such as banking and insurance.

The Financial Skills Partnership has been granted funding from the Higher Apprenticeship Fund to create initially 270 new vocational opportunities on a par with the first year of a degree. Firms such as HSBC and others have committed to work with FSP on the development of the frameworks to ensure they meet employers’ needs.

Funding was awarded to the Financial Skills Partnership to create a Level 4 Apprenticeship Framework for Banking and Finance. The aim is for the programme to become the nationally recognised higher level programme to train for a career in Insurance and Banking and will incorporate knowledge based qualifications from the professional institutes. It will provide a wrapper around training in the sector, measuring competence against national occupational standards (as defined by employers) and will up-skill those already working in the sector as well as new recruits entering the sector.

Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Sector, said, “This funding is for the continuation of our ongoing aim to attract new talent to the sector and maintain the UK’s position as a global leader in the financial services sector. Our vision is for the Insurance and Banking sector to have diverse pathways for development and professionalism with succession plans and career progression in place.

“Following initial guidance from employers, the programmes will meet their needs by providing a training programme for the most needed areas of their businesses, namely in branch management and branch and client relationship management. They will improve customer service and other skills as well as motivation amongst the Higher Apprentices. Although many talk of a ‘lost generation’ blighted by the tough job market, now is a great time to join the financial sector. Apprenticeships give a great opportunity to do that.”

The funding was awarded to the Financial Skills Partnership as part of a £18.1 million government funding package to support the development of 19,000 new Higher Apprenticeships in sectors including construction, advanced engineering, insurance and financial services.

Skills Minister John Hayes said, “The Government is putting apprenticeships on a level with academic study, enabling young people to gain degree level qualifications while earning a wage and learning the skills employers need most. This new initiative is great news for the financial services industry, and for ambitious young people who want to forge careers in the sector.”