As the growth of the Welsh financial sector continues, Counsel General and Brexit Minister, Jeremy Miles AM, has praised the successes of the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme as an example of why Wales must retain control of any replacement for EU funding.

Speaking at the launch event for the fourth Programme, Mr Miles commended the innovative graduate scheme, which is designed to support the growth of indigenous financial services companies and attract further businesses to Wales, by ensuring the country develops and retains its high-calibre graduates.

The Programme managed by the Welsh Contact Centre Forum attracts graduates with the rare opportunity to kick-start their careers in roles with some of the UK industry’s most desirable employers, while also studying towards a fully funded Master’s in Financial Services Management.

Since its initial launch as a pilot scheme in 2013, 165 graduates have embarked on that journey to become part of an elite talent pool that has seen 95% secure permanent roles within the Welsh industry. To date, women account for almost 50% of participants in the Programme, which specifically aims to support the industry to ensure its workforce and leadership are representative and inclusive.

In part, these successes have been made possible thanks to support from the European Social Development Fund. A fact the Minister drew attention to as he addressed an audience that included representatives from the leading companies in the Welsh financial sector.

Counsel General and Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles, who is responsible for EU funding in Wales, said:

“The Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme will provide fast-track opportunities to talented graduates, courtesy of existing and new business partners. This is another example of the way EU funds have supported projects in Wales.

“By promoting collaboration and encouraging a joined up approach to issues, EU funding continues to be vital in modernising our economy, increasing productivity, developing placement opportunities and driving real progress in R&D, science, infrastructure and skills.”

Speaking to the forty new graduates joining the Programme, Sandra Busby, Managing Director of the Welsh Contact Centre Forum, said:

“We welcome our graduates for 2019 as they begin to follow a path paved by nearly 200 people who have already seized the chance to obtain some of the most coveted roles within our burgeoning industry.

“It’s fair to say that the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme launched with big ambitions. It set out to create a pipeline of high-calibre graduates that could see our industry grow to become a rival for the UK’s long-established financial hubs. Today, we are joined by companies who are helping to make that goal a reality, companies that are already being rewarded for their foresight to recognise the value and competitive advantage such a programme could provide.”

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Currently, twelve companies from across South Wales have incorporated the Welsh Financial Graduate Programme as a major component of their talent recruitment and development activities, including, Admiral, Atradius, Development Bank of Wales, Legal &General, Hodge Bank, Henry Howard Finance, Principality Building Society, Motonovo, Optimum Credit, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, V12 Finance and Vauxhall Finance. The MSc in Financial Services Management is delivered by the University of South Wales.

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