If you’re great with people, have good attention to detail plus a knack for seeing opportunities, there are plenty of banking apprenticeships out there that could be right up your street.
You don’t need to be a maths whiz to work in banking – although a head for numbers won’t go amiss, banking apprenticeships are more about learning those customer service skills you need to build a rapport with clients and find new sales opportunities.
Liking the sound of it so far? If you're thinking about finishing school after your GCSEs, a banking apprenticeship could be a great way to gain skills and qualifications in the world of work.
'Banking apprenticeships could be a great training opportunity after your GCSEs'
What are banking apprenticeships?
A number of banks now offer banking apprenticeships in their high-street wings – the parts of the banks that offer individuals the opportunity to save and borrow money.
On the programme, you will train in a bank branch on an 18-month programme, working as the first point of contact for customers, helping them with basic enquiries and identifying new products which might be relevant to them. This is an intermediate or level 2 apprenticeship, and you’ll work towards vocational qualifications in customer service and areas such as personal banking.
Banking apprenticeships are relatively new – we had a look and only found schemes at RBS/NatWest, Nationwide and Lloyds. Barclays is developing a degree-level banking apprenticeship but it’s not currently available. They say it will be ready soon so check online for updates if you’ll be looking for apprenticeships over the coming year.
There are plenty of other apprenticeships available in the closely related field of finance, and you can learn about them in this guide.
What will I do?
Depending on the bank and programme you apply to, you could do some or all the following:
- Answer basic customer enquiries about their account, such as how much money is in it (balance enquiry).
- Help customers pay in and withdraw cash (cashier services).
- Talk to customers about what services they need from their bank and tell them about relevant products they might not know about.
- Keep an eye on their needs over time and offer new or more suitable products.
- Refer customers to colleagues to talk about specific products such as mortgages or loans.
What qualifications do I need?
Because these programmes are intermediate or level 2 apprenticeships, you may be able to apply to start once you’ve finished your GCSEs.
As a minimum, you need grades C+/4+ in English and maths to start an intermediate apprenticeship. Individual banks may have extra requirements.
What skills do I need?
You will need to work closely with members of the public and have a level of responsibility over their financial choices. If your role is particularly focused on offering new, relevant products to customers, you’ll need to think on your feet while sticking to strict rules at the same time.
Employers are on the look-out for:
- Great people and communication skills.
- Customer service skills (although you'll develop them on the job).
- Close attention to detail.
- The ability to follow rules.
- Professional attitude and smart appearance.
- Punctuality and reliability.
What will I gain?
You will train on an apprenticeship programme lasting around 18 months, working towards level 2 professional qualifications which together are equivalent to 5 GCSE passes at C+/4+. These could include:
- Customer service.
- Personal banking.
- Providing financial services.
Banking apprenticeships are new so there isn’t much information about average pay. We’ve looked at what’s on offer at the moment, and typically, pay appears to start around £15,000 per year, although apprentices beginning the RBS/NatWest scheme start on just over £20,000.
How can I apply?
You can search for banking apprenticeships on the government’s Find An Apprenticeship website.
However, not all opportunities are listed here, so we suggest you:
- Search the web for “banking apprenticeships”.
- View opportunities directly on banks’ websites.
- Bookmark any banking apprenticeships you find in your browser (you can do this on your phone too), especially if the schemes aren’t open yet.
- Sign up for email alerts if possible, that way you’ll get a notification when applications open.
If you like the sound of banking apprenticeships, you’re going to love finance apprenticeships (well, maybe). Check out this guide to see which is the best fit for you.