Of those of you who know me, and those of you who read my blogs, you’ll be aware that I am passionate about finance, particularly about women in finance.
So it’s with great interest to me that it’s National Careers Week from 4th– 9thMarch. An opportunity for young people –girls and boys, women and men alike - up and down the country to think about the career path they’d like to take, and how they can take those first steps on that happy and prosperous road.
By promoting Careers Week, we can attract a new wave of both women and men to our thriving industry.
Interestingly, National Careers Week has, this year, teamed up with RBS – a huge step in the right direction in attracting young people into our field.
Having worked in the finance industry for over 25 years, I have written several articles about the lack of women in our industry and my thoughts on how we can make a change. And so that leads me to my next article, this article; here’s my advice for anyone looking at a career in the finance industry - whether they are a school leaver, graduate or someone who is looking to change their career direction.
School Leavers Programme
There are a growing number of companies who will offer school leavers programmes – these usually last around 5 years, resulting in invaluable ‘on the job training’ but also a professional qualification such as a Chartered Financial Analyst or Investment Management Certificate, for example.
Qualifying candidates must have 3 A-levels, grade C or above, as well as 5 GCSEs including maths and English, with grades at an A-C level.
Top Tip– contact your local accountancy and finance companies asking for work experience opportunities. Consider an ad hoc placement for a couple of weeks during school half terms or look at a longer summer period before you start college or go off to University.
Higher Apprenticeships / Level 4 Apprenticeships
Many banks and larger corporations that have dedicated in-house finance departments offer Level 4 Apprenticeships to college leavers – this is equivalent to a recognised degree level professional qualification. Again, applicants must have 3 A-levels, grade C or above, as well as 5 GCSEs including maths and English, with grades at an A-C level.
Top Tip– Many banks value the experience an applicant has in previous customer service roles which bring sortafter people skills to the job.
Apprenticeships Vs Internship
An apprenticeship scheme offers candidates a salaried position within a company, whilst working towards a professional qualification and can last up to six years. An internship is more like a work experience opportunity. Whilst they are short term they offer invaluable experience within the field and often make way for applying for apprenticeship schemes and university places.
After finishing a degree, many graduates join up to a company’s graduate scheme. These usually last three years and focus on a specific finance area. As well as working within the business, graduates can often work towards an additional professional qualification.