HSBC announced plans to join the government’s Apprenticeship scheme which will initially provide nationally recognised qualifications to around 1,000 of its employees.

The government is actively encouraging financial and professional services firms to set up such schemes. Apprenticeships should prove attractive to people who haven’t had the benefit of a university education including school leavers who want to follow a profession and gain qualifications but do not want to go to university.

Although HSBC will pitch its scheme at a higher level than the basic government Apprenticeship scheme, it will be aimed at non-graduate employees, thereby giving those successful staff an equivalent qualification that could be achieved through further education. It is anticipated that a quarter of the apprentices on the pilot will come from staff newly recruited to the bank and that the qualification will take, on average, around 18 months to complete.

Commenting on the new scheme, John Morewood, Apprenticeship and Qualifications Specialist at HSBC, said:

“We are delighted to be joining the government approved scheme. The Apprenticeship philosophy fits our developing strategy of linking internal training schemes with external qualifications. Apprenticeships will complement our graduate schemes and help us continue our journey of professionalising our workforce. For many employees who wouldn’t have had the chance to gain a professional qualification Apprenticeships will give them increased skills and career opportunities as well as a nationally recognised qualification.