From education to employment

Call to meet demand for high level skills in finance sector.

Union leaders, employers and Minister for Skills David Lammy will today set out the skills challenge facing the UK finance sector at a seminar hosted by unionlearn, the TUC’s learning and skills organisation.

The finance sector has grown by 5.5 per cent a year since 2002 and currently accounts for eight per cent of GDP. The industry now employs over a million workers.

Despite this progress, a recent Treasury review of City competitiveness warned that the financial sector is vulnerable to offshoring. The latest report from the Financial Services Sector Council (FSSC) also highlighted critical skills needs across the sector. At today’s seminar, a range of experts will identify the steps needed to meet this challenge.

The event has been organised by unionlearn, Unite, Alliance for Finance and is also being supported by the FSSC.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Financial services have been the powerhouse of the British economy in recent years. But we can”t afford to be complacent. The finance sector relies heavily on high-level skills and unless we can meet this demand we will lose our world-leader status.

“Much work is already under way. Unions are working with employers, the Government and the FSSC to develop a skills agreement for the finance sector. We are encouraging employers to sign up to the Skills Pledge and support the development of new apprenticeships such as those for investment administrators and financial advisers.

“Where employers have worked with unions, through our network of union learning reps, to improve skills at work the results have been impressive. But more has to be done. Training is needed throughout the finance industry ““ not just for managers and professionals but also for junior staff, who want careers in finance but are often shackled by dead-end low-paid jobs. Only by working together can we hope to meet this huge skills challenge.”

Minister for Skills David Lammy said: “The finance sector is at the heart of the British economy, and continued skills development in the sector is vital to our success and prosperity. It is good to see the FSSC working closely with Unite and the Alliance for Finance to promote the skills agenda in the sector, to ensure that every employee has access to high quality training.”

Unite Deputy General Secretary, Graham Goddard said: “Unite has long argued the importance of raising the skills level of all employees in the financial services sector, in order for the workforce to be able to compete on the world stage. Employees are without doubt an organisation’s greatest asset and the skills implications of the globalisation phenomenon are considerable. It is vital that workers are given the opportunity to enhance their qualifications ““ only then will this country be able to maintain a competitive edge.

“Unite will continue to campaign for organisations to take a long-term view of training and skills development, only then will employees have the opportunity to make career choices in a rapidly changing employment market.”

Related Articles