Financial services apprenticeships are changing for the better

Apprenticeships are changing for the better: that’s the view of one of the fastest growing sectors for apprenticeship adoption: the insurance industry.

Writing today, Caspar Bartington, relationship manager for education, at the Chartered Insurance Institute spelled out what his industry must do to reach out to school leavers.

“In the past, apprenticeship programmes did not quite work. There was a financial administration standard and then a financial advice one, with nothing in between to offer structured progression,” he said.

The good news, according to Bartington, is that this is changing. “We now also have a paraplanning apprenticeship, which builds on the financial administration apprenticeship. By the end of the year, there will be a financial advice apprenticeship too. Funding is available at all levels and the apprenticeship is delivered by an external provider, meaning you can focus on business as usual.

 

‘Soft skills most important’

“While there are very few degrees that offer exemptions from our financial planning qualifications (the university academics rarely have the technical expertise or experience) the companies I speak to with graduate schemes recruit based on soft skills rather than the degree studied.

“We carried out research with careers staff at schools, colleges and universities. The key motivators for graduates came out as brand recognition, work-life balance, social value and salary.

Bartington points out that, as a sector, financial services generally and insurance in particular have a strong story to tell on these areas – provided they reach out in good time. “If we do not, we will be further overshadowed by other sectors with larger budgets and bigger schemes. You can do this through on-campus events delivered by the CII, through content for our targeted members or through your own links with universities and summer placement programmes. Want to make these connections? We have links with every UK university.

The key motivators for school and college students were a little different. Nearly 90 per cent said salary was the key motivator, a long way ahead of brand recognition (40 per cent), work-life balance (25 per cent) and social value (20 per cent).