Financial Services Unified Schools Programme

The Financial Services Unified Schools Programme, run by Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS), was established to encourage and inspire school pupils to consider and explore the career opportunities offered by financial services.

The objective of this initiative is to encourage and inspire pupils, their teachers, influencers, and career advisers to consider financial services as an employment option.

Most financial services organisations have their own programmes with schools. The purpose of this initiative is not to replace or enforce change to existing programmes, but to complement any programme with a unified message from financial services.


USP is part of a wider strategic initiative under the SFE Skills & Talent Group to ensure the financial services industry has a pipeline of talent now and in the future. A pilot was held at the end of 2018 which saw pupils from two high schools spend three days in SFE member firms. Watch a video of their experience here. Following USP’s success, SFE, SDS and DYW began rolling the programme out to schools across Scotland.

USP goes digital

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, USP pivoted from face-to-face delivery in schools to an immersive online offering for teachers, learners and parents.

  • USP Virtual Events – DYW are working with SFE member firms to host live events for school pupils so they can hear first-hand about the exciting career opportunities and ask questions. 
  • USP e-Modules – online USP modules have been developed by SFE members in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and DYW to help young adults understand financial services and the associated soft skills required. The modules have been designed to bring the industry to life and align with Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence.
  • USP @ School – Professionals from SFE member firms have created ‘day in the life’ videos to provide an overview of what it’s like to work in financial services.

How to get involved – financial services firms

USP has a core group of SFE members supporting this important initiative, but to make it a national success we need more firms to participate. Here’s how your firm can get involved:

  • Join USP – register your business on the DYW Marketplace to be part of USP here. It takes one minute to register. Find out how to register here.
  • Online USP modules – help develop further online modules.
  • USP school presenters – share your career path into financial services.
  • Spread the word – promote USP with your colleagues by sharing this video:

For more information on how your business can get involved, please contact USP Scotland Lead Programme Manager Nicholas Bobb,

How to get involved – pupils, teachers, parents

  • Pupils - can find out more about USP and get involved through the My World of Work There you’ll find a host of information about the programme as well as background into careers in the financial services sector. 
  • Teachers - can register directly for USP opportunities through Marketplace’s ‘career insight’ section.   
  • Parents can also find out about career options for this and other industries at My Kids Career.

For further information on how your school can take advantage of USP, please contact SFE's Head of Skills & Inclusion Caitlin Cooke at

Feedback from pupils

“Before taking part in the programme I thought financial services was just men in suits managing money but it’s completely different to that. I saw just how many diverse jobs there are in a financial services company, during my two days I spent time with teams in data analysis, IT client relationships and marketing. And it definitely wasn’t all men, there were lots of women,” – Olivia Boath

“I’d already decided that I would apply for an apprenticeship after school, something computer based but never considered financial services. Now I know that there are a range of computer and technology jobs available in financial services I will definitely be exploring the industry for apprenticeship opportunities” – Nathan McEwan

USP member firms

  • Baillie Gifford
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Barclays
  • BlackRock
  • EY including the EY Foundation
  • HSBC
  • JP Morgan
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • NatWest Group
  • Nucleus Financial
  • Scottish Widows
  • Standard Life Aberdeen
  • Tesco Bank
  • Virgin Money

USP partners

  • Skills Development Scotland > website
  • Developing the Young Workforce > website
  • Digital Xtra Fund > website