If you’re thinking about a banking or finance apprenticeship the chances are you’re interested in numbers, so here’s a few to be getting on with. You’re going to need at least 4 A-C grade GCSE’s, including English and Maths. Salaries start at 13k – 17k, but in a year or so you could be earning 20k. All that should help you avoid another significant number – £44,000. That was the average debt run up by graduates leaving university in 2016.
It’s probably best to start off by saying what banking apprenticeships aren’t about – you’re not being trained for life behind the counter as a cashier. These are mainly Level 3 and Level 4 apprenticeships preparing people for leadership roles within some of Britain’s biggest commercial organisations. It’s not just about middle-aged white men in suits either – 60% of HSBC’s apprentices are women and 55% come from a BAME background. Okay, you probably will have to wear a suit, but you’ll be able to afford a pretty sharp one. The high-street banks offer a wide variety of apprenticeships but they can be broken down into a few broad areas.
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP APPRENTICESHIPS
Different banks give them different names; at Barclays, for example, you would be a “Leadership and Management Higher Apprentice” but the idea behind all of them is much the same. You’re being trained to become a bank manager. You’ll study for a degree or an equivalent professional qualification such as a chartered banking diploma, with fees paid by the bank. You’ll learn about dealing with mortgages and other complex financial instruments, how to lead your team and how to advise customers about their finances. You could be a manager at the end of your three-year training period, and you might even find yourself showing some of your schoolmates who went to university how to cope with that massive debt.
COMMERCIAL RELATIONSHIP APPRENTICESHIPS
It’s not just individuals who depend on banks for advice about finance; all sorts of businesses and commercial organisations do as well. As a commercial relationship manager, you would advise businesses about their day to day banking needs and keep them informed about the latest products and regulations. You would also be required to attract new business to the bank. It can be a high pressure, high stakes environment but you’ll be rewarded with an industry recognised degree-level banking qualification at the end of your three years training.
OTHER BANKING APPRENTICESHIPS
Outside of their core banking operations, the high-street banks offer apprenticeships which can lead you into amazing variety of roles. Take a look at this list;
- Digital Marketing Consultant
- Marketing Assistant
- Data Analyst
- Fraud Investigator
- IT Analyst
- Software Developer
- Telephone Banking Consultant
- Customer Service Advisor
- Personal Banking Consultant
- Assistant Project Manager
They are just a few of the apprenticeships on offer at one UK high street bank at the moment. We won’t keep you in suspense – it’s Lloyds. But Santander, RBS, Barclays and many more run similar schemes.
Most people learn to dread opening letters from the bank, but if you opt for one of these apprenticeships you’ll never need to worry. And not just because you’ll be the one sending the letters!
APPRENTICESHIPS IN FINANCE
When you tell someone you’re doing an apprenticeship in finance they probably think you work for a bank or a firm of accountants. They might be right, but you could just as easily be working for Transport for London or Jaguar/Land Rover. You mightn’t get to drive a tube train or test drive a Jag but you will fulfil a role which is just as vital to the organisation’s operations.
Finance covers a whole range of skills. If you’ve just spent an entire night binge watching a full series of Game of Thrones and want to know what your chances are of staying awake in class next day you could ask an Actuary; someone who constructs mathematical models to predict future outcomes. OK, maybe you shouldn’t ask them to predict that particular outcome but if you like maths, enjoy solving problems and have an analytical mind you should consider applying for an Actuarial Technician Higher Apprenticeship. As an apprentice, you work as part of a team, supporting qualified actuaries using data to provide solutions for clients. You will develop key business skills and behaviours through ‘on-the-job’ training, while also studying for some professional exams. At the end of your training, which takes two to three years, you can expect to earn about £30,000 a year. Don’t fancy being an actuary? Here’s a few other apprenticeships to consider.
Claims technician, Broker technician, Underwriter technician.
Accounts clerk, Credit control assistant, Finance assistant, Purchase ledger clerk.
Payroll assistant, Payroll clerk, Payroll administrator.
Mortgage advisor, Tax trainee, Junior consultant, Account executive.
Investment operations administrator, Investment operations technician, Investment operations specialist.
A University Experience?
If you like the idea of an apprenticeship, but don’t want to miss out on the University experience, many financial apprenticeships give you the best of both worlds. Trainees on accountancy firm KPMG’s school leaver scheme spend six months of the year at University and the other six months gaining experience with one of the firm’s audit teams. If you were lucky enough to be accepted on this programme you get your tuition and accommodation fees at college paid by KPMG and emerge at the end as a fully qualified chartered accountant. What’s more, you’ll qualify faster than someone who goes straight to University and then has to look for a job when they graduate.
Opportunities for financial apprenticeships are not just confined to the private sector. The National Audit Office, an independent public body which scrutinises how the government spends our money, is just one of the public-sector organisations to offer an apprenticeship scheme for school leavers. This five-year scheme leads to qualification as a Chartered Accountant and a projected annual salary of £50,000 on qualification.
Whichever apprenticeship you go for, you can be absolutely certain that you’re not choosing a second-best option. The banking and finance sector is investing heavily in its future leaders. You could be one of them.