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Why you should do finance work experience—and where to find it

Finance work experience lets you see what it might be like to have a career in finance, banking or accounting. You’ll develop transferable skills, and get a feel for the industry and the roles available.

But bagging yourself work experience in banking and finance can be tricky, as it’s competitive. In this guide we’ll explore the benefits and types of different placements, as well as where you can find work experience for year 10 and year 12.

Why should I get work experience in banking and finance?

As with any Career Zone, work experience in finance is really important for a number of reasons:

  • You get to see what the banking, finance and accounting sectors are all about, and whether they might be right for you.
  • You’ll get to ‘try out’ a specific job role.
  • It gives you a chance to network and make contacts that might come in handy in the future.
  • The key skills you’ll develop (such as communication and people skills)  will set you apart when it comes to applying for jobs later.
  • Jobs in finance are fiercely competitive, so work experience is a big plus on your CV. In fact, many banking and financial services employers will require you to have done some kind of placement.
  • The work experience will still be extremely valuable even if you decide not to pursue a finance job; all employers will view the placement as a sign of your commitment and dedication.

Learn more: what should I put on my first CV?

What would the work experience involve?

What you’ll actually be doing on a placement will vary greatly depending on the employer and type of placement. You could be working at a retail bank, insurance firm, or accountancy company – among many others.

Insight days or programmes are intended to give you a glimpse into what the company does, and possibly the different roles available. These are often run by bigger companies.

If your placement lasts for a week, you can expect to be able to shadow staff at the company, so you’ll see exactly what their job role involves. Some placements may even give you the chance to work on a real project and share your ideas with managers.

How can I make the most of work experience in banking and finance?

One of the most important aspects of any work experience placement is that it develops your transferable skills. So make sure to take every opportunity you can to build these abilities. For example, practice your communication skills by asking clear questions about what a staff member’s job involves. (Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions: it shows you’re curious, interested and ambitious).

Offer your help on a project to grow your teamwork skills and ability to take the initiative. Make a note of the skills you’re developing – this will be really important when it comes to applying for jobs later on.

Go in-depth: how to get the most out of work experience

Where can I find placements?

Finance work experience year 10

Many schools require students to take a one-two week work experience placement in year 10. There is a limited number of banks and financial institutions that will offer placements to year 10 pupils. These include Nationwide and Barclays.

It is also a good idea to search for local companies in your area – for example accountancy firms or financial services businesses – and contact them to see if they will offer you a placement. Even if they don’t run a formal work experience scheme, they may still have something for you. Begin your search at least six months before you’d like to start the placement.

Finance work experience year 12

You could also organise your own placement during the summer after Year 12 or Year 13. Finance work experience year 12 placements are available at HSBC, Santander and Anderson Anderson & Brown.

Research local finance firms and consultancies as they may offer work experience on request. Consultancies work on projects for customers, which may provide an opportunity to get involved in a project from start to finish rather than just shadowing a staff member.

Search our Jobs & Courses page for work experience opportunities.

Main image via Pexels; illustration via Freepik