From education to employment

Opportunities in the financial sector for next generation learners

This may indeed be the best of times for next-generation learners to consider careers in the financial, finance and accountancy sectors. The sector is evolving in a way that should set a precedent for other UK industries.

Educators have a unique opportunity to communicate to young people that the financial industry is increasingly diverse and professional, offering challenging opportunities to succeed and excel in the sector.

The Financial and Legal Skills Partnership (FLSP) proactively supports the development of a skilled workforce in the UK’s financial, finance, legal and accountancy sectors. As a Government-licensed skills organisation, it develops skills-based solutions to help support and sustain a commercially dynamic industry.

Young people need to be informed and supported in developing the skills and knowledge wanted by sector employers. This includes diverse people from various backgrounds, and with different levels of experience. The FLSP works with its employer partners to develop and shape their internal programs from work experience and apprenticeships to school leavers and graduates.

Recent FLSP initiatives focus on increasing entry points into the industry, while challenging and changing mind-sets and behaviours that may have affected young people’s perception of the industry as a possible career path. The two-year Leadership21C  programme (L21C) addresses critical issues that affect trust and confidence in the sector. Its programmes focus on driving growth and promoting employment opportunities.

L21C recognises that the development of effective leadership in the sector will encourage young people to enter the profession. Greater diversity at board level is essential for the industry to evolve into a career choice for the next generation. As cultural change improves board leadership, the new perspectives will filter down through the industry levels. Young people will recognise that the new ways of doing things increases their career opportunities.

Another initiative aims to dispel the perception of a ‘glass ceiling’ that may have been limiting women’s advancement in the financial sector. The ‘Through the Glass ceiling’ programme is designed specifically for women managers looking to develop their personal leadership capabilities.

Educators have a critical role in communicating the new, diverse career paths in the financial sector – ones that can lead talented people from various backgrounds and capabilities to attain the highest executive management levels.

Young people need to know about the many new opportunities the industry can offer, free of old-fashioned stereotypes and with professional sector support. This new talent is central to improving the financial sector.

Further education is a critical component in communicating the financial sector’s new opportunities, and effectively shaping the industry’s renewed growth and professionalism. It is a key factor in establishing the sector’s future diversity and promoting the rewarding career opportunities available in a revitalised financial services industry.

Contact FLSP for information about opportunities for young people.

Liz Field is chief executive of the Financial and Legal Skills Partnership, an employer-led organisation that represents large firm partners on the current skills issues affecting the industry

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