Financial services leading the way in apprenticeships

Ian Hanson of Skills Development Scotland writes about how financial services are leading the way in supporting new developments in apprenticeships ahead of the 2018 Scottish Apprenticeships Awards.

Scottish apprenticeships are changing and it’s encouraging to see the financial services sector leading the way in supporting new developments.

Now in their 17th year, the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards are a celebration of the apprentices who choose to invest in their future and employers who choose to invest in the future of their workforce.

The number and breadth of successful nominations from financial services employers for the awards this year is a testament to the value placed on the apprenticeship pathways and the hard work of the industry-public sector partnership through the Scottish Government’s Financial Services Advisory Board in promoting apprenticeships to learners and employers.

It’s particularly positive to see nominations for Foundation Apprentices with Virgin Money and Prudential.

Foundation Apprenticeships are subject choices for S5 and S6 pupils. They really are the forefront of work-based learning and the future of apprenticeships creating a pipeline of talent for industry.

The financial services sector was one for the first to develop a pathfinder for the school-based Foundation Apprenticeships, recognising the value of work-based learning alongside the wider curriculum.

While Foundation Apprenticeships will be the start of the journey for thousands of pupils in the years ahead, Graduate Apprenticeships are extending work-based learning opportunities to Master’s degree level.

It is also great for financial services to see JP Morgan’s Kieran Russell among the finalists in the Graduate Apprentice Rising Star category.

Indeed, the industry has been an enthusiastic supporter of Graduate Apprenticeships assisting in the development of the Business Management, Cyber Security and Data Science frameworks.

Support for the range of Scottish apprenticeships across financial services has been steadily growing as companies embrace new entry routes to the sector beyond the traditional graduate programmes.

Employers are recognising how apprenticeships can benefit their business both for new recruits and to develop their workforce for existing employees.

In the last four years Modern Apprenticeship starts across the sector have increased by 12%. The sector uses a wide range of frameworks including IT/Digital, management, business and administration, customer services, while the greatest number of starts are in the industry-specific Providing Financial Services framework and Accounting.  It’s great to see the industry represented in this category by HSBC.

While the awards recognise individual achievements – both from apprentices and their employers – recognition must be given to the financial service industry for its support for work-based learning.

Continuing to invest in talent for the future through Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships really is a win-win for all.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, including SFE members J.P Morgan in Glasgow which won the Promoting Diversity Large Employer of the Year award and HSBC’s Lorena Cocozza, who collected the Modern Apprentice of the Year (SCQF Level 6+). For the full list of awards visit