The financial services are an all-encompassing industry that you can get into at any age, whether you have no GCSEs, or you’ve got a degree – there are opportunities available at any level. Qualifications in the financial services industry aren’t always a must, however, the biggest accounting firms may expect them. Often, knowledge of the finance industry and current affairs is very beneficial.
The financial services incorporate a number of different roles, but, the main objective of the industry it to help clients shape their businesses and execute strategies. From identifying and mitigating risks, looking into financial crime to investment banking and insurance firms, there really is a huge wealth of opportunities to get yourself involved in.
The financial services industry is one that is very competitive and has many different aspects that make it a diverse and interesting environment to be in. For this reason, a financial services work placement is almost essential to your success in the industry. Many of the biggest financial players across the UK offer work placements that will help you stand out from the crowd and develop your CV. It will give you the experience of working alongside professionals in an industry that interests you, and help you gain an idea of the role you would like to begin your career in.
Unsure about what a work placement could involve? You should’ve asked!
Apprenticeships in the financial services are becoming more popular as they are seen as the ideal combination of experience and qualifications, and for many financial employers, both are crucial. Apprenticeships allow this combination to happen. In fact, you could become a qualified accountant more quickly through an apprenticeship than by going to university!
As a financial apprentice, you’ll be working with an employer and have real levels of responsibility, perhaps even managing accounts once you gain some experience, and learning the skills of the trade from your expert colleagues. You’ll also be paid to study for 20% of your week, where you’ll study for the qualifications that relate directly to your role. A financial services apprenticeship could be perfectly suited for you if you wish to learn the skills of the job first-hand but also gain an understanding of the theory in an academic context. Here are some financial services apprenticeships that are available to you:
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Degree apprenticeships are quickly becoming an option that is in high demand across the financial services sector. They’ll give you the opportunity to work with an employer and learn on the job while you study towards a degree. Though your academic studies will still be heavily weighted, you will gain the opportunity to apply what you’ve learnt at university to your job and further advance your understanding of the subject.
You may even be given entire projects or responsibilities that will quickly develop over your course as you start to learn even more, you’ll also have a mentor who’ll be able to support you both at work and in your studying. Financial Degree Apprenticeships are available across the UK and even more are in development.
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If you feel you have an academic and analytical mind, applying for a financial services degree at university may be the perfect fit for you. At university, you’ll spend a majority of your time in lectures and seminars learning the academic theory behind the industry which you’ll be able to apply to your career when you graduate. Many universities also combine assessments and units with the business side too – allowing you a chance to combine both aspects of your apprenticeship.
If you’re unsure of what area of the financial services you’re interested in you will be given a good overview of the sector in your first year, and later you’ll be able to specialise your learning by choosing what units you wish to study in more depth. Whether you’re interested in more practical roles or not, it is recommended that you look at degree courses that offer industrial placements or years in industry, so you get an understanding of what it’s like from the inside and impress potential employers.
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Hundreds of graduate opportunities are available in the UK in the financial service industry. Most financial service organisations now expect potential recruits to have their degree before offering them a graduate role or to be put onto a scheme. Though you may not be required to have a Maths or Accounting degree, you may still need to undergo further training or obtain the necessary qualifications before being given permanent roles. These schemes will give you the experience and skills within the financial service industry to make the most of your career.
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The beauty of the financial industry is that you can go straight into a role from school, college or university, or even later in life as a career change. Many people in the industry start at a younger age and work their way up through an organisation due to the opportunities for progression – promotions and responsibility are granted on a regular basis to those who demonstrate dedication and skill.
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