Whether it’s helping customers make sense of their pensions or explaining different mortgage options to people who want to buy a house, a career in finance can be a rewarding and interesting career.
You don’t actually need to get a degree to have a high-flying career in finance; you can do an apprenticeship instead of uni – who knew? The other thing that might surprise you is apprenticeships in finance aren’t just open to maths buffs. Employers are looking for ambitious young people who know how to tackle problems and aren’t afraid to ask questions.
Here’s your guide to apprenticeships in finance, and what skills and personal qualities they require.
What are finance apprenticeships?
An apprenticeship lets you work and study at the same time. You’ll gain experience and skills on the job while studying towards a professional qualification and earning a real salary. You’ll have an employer and go to college.
Finance apprenticeships are sometimes train you to work in the financial services sector.
In a nutshell that means helping people and businesses with their money.
It’s a broad field that includes advising customers about their money, doing cash withdrawals, and selling and managing insurance policies.
What levels are available?
At the intermediate level of apprenticeships in finance, you could train in roles such as cashier, customer adviser, financial advice administrator, or mortgage administrator. You might be working in a bank or insurance company, but you could also work in the finance department of a business, charity or local council.
You’ll be working towards a qualification that’s recognised across the sector, such as the CII certificate in Financial Services or the Level 2 diploma in business administration.
There's also the option to train as an investment operations administrator. This part of the finance sector is all to do with advising companies and people on how to invest their money. Learn more about investment management jobs here.
And as an advanced level apprentice, you could train in jobs like broker, senior cashier, foreign currency adviser, pensions team leader, financial manager, or insurance broker.
There's even a motor finance specialist apprenticeship, where you'll learn to give customers financial advice about buying a car.
There is now a higher (level 6) apprenticeship which will train you as a financial services professional. This programme gives you a very broad range of skills and knowledge to equip you to work across financial services. You'll also study towards a recognised qualification.
You can do a higher apprenticeship in investment operations (read this for a refresher on what investment management is).
What will I do?
Depending on the level, employer and role, your tasks might include:
- Allocating cash and card receipts.
- Posting invoices (requests for payment in exchange for products or services) and keeping an accurate record of all invoices.
- Speaking to customers on the phone and dealing with queries.
- Using software to process payments.
- Carrying out other office tasks such as updating spreadsheets.
- Keep track of business expenses.
- Selling insurance.
So what skills do I need?
The whole point of an apprenticeship is that you’re given lots of on-the-job training and opportunities to learn new skills. So you don’t need to know loads about finance or have tons of technical abilities before applying.
Employers are looking at your personal qualities. They want to know what kind of person you are, and what skills you can develop. Here’s an idea of what they’re after:
- Communicator – do you enjoy chatting to people? Are you good at really listening to someone? Do you know how to work in a team?
- Enthusiastic – are you always up for learning new skills and getting stuck in to challenges?
- Multi-tasker– is your daily to-do list in good shape? Are you a pro at staying on top of many different tasks?
- Focussed – do you get bored easily or do you have great concentration skills?
- Motivated – are you dedicated to pursuing a career in finance? Do you have the discipline to stick at it?
- Adaptable – how well do you deal with change? Do you stay calm when problems crop up?
- Ethical – do you have a strong sense of right and wrong? Are you confident enough to speak out or ask questions?
And a few other things that might come in handy for apprenticeships in finance…
- Strong numeracy skills.
- Great attention to detail.
- Basic IT skills like Excel, Word, PowerPoint.
- Good spelling and grammar.
Important note! Since there are loads of finance apprenticeships out there, we can only cover a selection of the skills you’ll need. Check out the apprenticeship you're interested in for full details of skills and entry requirements. Get started by looking for apprenticeships on the Success at School site.
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Main image via Freepik
Finance apprentice by Olu Eletu via Unsplash