Fast Track into Financial Services

Fast Track into Financial Services is an award-winning six-week work-readiness course developed for HNC/HND/Degree-level graduates progressing a career in Scotland’s financial services sector and is the result of a partnership project involving Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) members, learning providers and Skills Development Scotland (SDS).   

The programme is co-designed and co-delivered with financial services companies - representing an agile response to the industry’s recruitment needs and provides participants a good foundation to secure future employment. 

On completion, learners receive an SCQF Level 7 qualification, jointly awarded by SFE, SQA and SDS.  In Autumn 2019 Fast Track won the Scottish Financial Services Pioneer Award  

The curriculum focus is centred around four main modules (Environment, Culture, Risk and Skills) and prepares participants for customer services and operations roles.  Fast Track follows a common curriculum but there is content flexibility to reflect the regional nature of in-demand roles. 

The course is currently run by the City of Glasgow and Edinburgh Colleges and co-delivered with industry partners including BNP Paribas, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Tesco Bank, TSB, and Aberdeen Standard Investments among other.s   

Since Spring 2020 Fife, Ayrshire, West Lothian and West College Scotland Colleges have also been involved in the development of Fast Track, supporting the Scotland-wide approach.

Fast Track 2021 courses

The City of Glasgow College and Edinburgh College will be running Fast Track courses on the following dates.

  • Course 5 – 30 August – 8 October

  • Course 6  - 11 October – 26 November

  • Course 7 – 29 November – 28 January

Interested? Apply now: 

Further information for employers

Fast Track is a priority programme for the Financial Services Advisory Board’s Skills and Talent Group.   Employers have been involved at every stage of the curriculum development of the course and actively support the course through the engagement of subject matter experts who help deliver some of the course.      

Comprising financial and professional services firms, education and the public sector, Financial Services Hubs allow key partners to collaborate on issues around talent attraction and work-readiness. Chaired by Scott Stewart of Barclays in the west and co-chaired by Stuart Langan and Heather McLellan of Lloyds Banking Group in the east, the Hubs provide additional support and oversight for the Fast Track programme.   

What can Fast Track offer your organisation?  

If your organisation has expansion or replacement plans at entry level, this programme can help provide access to a new channel of skilled talent. The Hub chairs would welcome your participation where you can shape, influence and co-deliver future work-readiness courses that can support your resourcing plans and develop links across your region.   

The benefits of Fast Track for the industry:  

  • Certified and award-winning training  
  • Shape the learning of new employees  
  • Link with industry, colleges and public sector partners  

Find out more and get involved by contacting Caitlin Cooke.

Further information for learning providers 

The aim of Fast Track is to help appropriately qualified learners secure customer services and operations roles in the financial services sector, which has identified the course as a key recruitment channel for customer first entry-level roles.  

How to get involved in Fast Track  

There is an active education and industry collaboration already in place through the financial services Hubs.  Comprising financial and professional services firms, education and the public sector, the Hubs allow key partners to collaborate on issues around talent attraction and work-readiness.   

Find out more and get involved by contacting Caitlin Cooke 

Would your college like to offer this course?  

To be an approved centre, providers should apply to SQA to deliver the Award.   

SQA approval forms are straightforward and should include details of your staff development and track record in delivering courses for the financial services sector. If you need support, please speak to your organisation’s SQA co-ordinator.   

Mainstreaming Fast Track across the college sector  

There are four modules within the Fast Track award. Colleges are encouraged to consider how standalone modules can be incorporated into and complement your HN courses. The ambition is to mainstream the modules across the wider financial services-related curriculum in Scotland.   

SQA Certification 

Details of SCQF L7 Customised Award can be found on the SQA website. The Award is nationally owned by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with Scottish Financial Enterprise.   

Further information for future participants

About You 

You may be an unemployed HND/Degree graduate or currently working but need more experience and support to secure a role in financial services successfully; or you are affected by redundancy in a sector where you have developed customer services and operational skills - such as tourism, travel, food retail or hospitality - which can be complemented with an immersive course for financial services.  

Course content  

The curriculum reflects the skills and behaviours identified by employers as important skillsets for customer facing roles – meaning you will be building a solid foundation for your future career.  

Delivered over four days per week for six weeks, Fast Track is intensive for learners and demands a high degree of self-study. It is important you assess that you have the resource, time and commitment to complete the programme. 

In addition to the main curriculum, you can access an e-learning module provided by the Chartered banker Institute, which gives learners access to a Vulnerable Customers module. 


Are there vacancies in financial services? 

Customer services and operations roles continue to be one of the three identified in-demand job families in the industry. The latest evidence shows that retail banks are expected to need an increase in workforce to undertake important customer-facing roles in the next six months.    

What’s the eligibility criteria for Fast Track? 

  • to be eligible to work in the UK; 
  • have achieved a qualification at SCQF level 7 or above such as HNC, HND or Degree 
  • photo identification such as a passport or driving license 
  • access to a laptop/computer and the internet 

What do I need to do before applying?  

  • Take time to consider whether a career in financial services is the right one for you   
  • Applicants complete a Self-Declaration Form (which reflects key pre-employment screening criteria necessary to secure employment in financial services).   

Apply to Fast Track  

What does it cost?  

The course is offered free of charge for all learners.  If you are a DWP benefits claimant, please speak to your Job Coach regarding your application. 

Will I physically attend the course? 

Given the restrictions relating to COVID-19, Fast Track is deliverd online with staff, industry experts and participants accessing the course from home.    

Along with notes, remote collaboration tools, suggestions for self-learning, and opportunities to have one to ones and group sessions with experienced tutors and industry experts, participants must be fully equipped for a virtual classroom experience. Multiple online platforms are used in delivery (Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Zoom among others) and it's recommended that you familiarise yourself with these platforms in advance. 

Is the course academically recognised? 

Yes.  Fast Track is a customised award which has been credit-rated on the SCQF (Level 7) by SQA. This award is certificated, and quality assured by SQA. 

Securing future employment  

Future job offers will be subject to a screening check by your future employer. Please note that these checks can be intensive and are referred to as Pre-Employment Screening, Compliance and/or Background Checks.  They are typically undertaken at offer stage and conducted by the company or its agent.   

As part of Fast Track, there is support through tutors, industry and recruitment consultants to support your CV and behavioural/competency-based interview preparation. Online tools and guides also form part of the course.  

Fast Track is focussed in supporting you to secure an interview and enter a new career in financial services. 

What do recent participants of Fast Track say? 

Euan Sheridan, 28, who is now performing a Community Banking Premier role with Barclays, said the work-readiness course was the perfect preparation for starting his financial services career:   

“The Fast Track to Financial Services course helped with developing the soft skills required to work in a bank as a whole.  Understanding the basics of how a bank operates and its importance to customers has been very helpful indeed.” 

Further information  

Should you wish to find out more before applying for the course, please contact 

Edinburgh College  

City of Glasgow College