Is an Apprenticeship in Finance a Good Career Path?

Written by Steven Marwick

Is an Apprenticeship in Finance a Good Career Path? Many people view a finance career as something beyond them because the undergraduate degree-level courses have some pretty high entry requirements for the most part. It is also only possible for some to go to university due to the prohibitive costs of tuition fees. 

People from lower socio-economic backgrounds often cannot afford to take up what would have otherwise been an excellent opportunity for them, despite having the requisite grades to enter the course.

Finance Apprenticeship as a Career Path

An apprenticeship in finance is a strong career path to choose as an alternative to the higher education route and indeed has many benefits. A finance apprenticeship standard opens up opportunities to take on many different job roles, and we have included some of these with a description of what they entail and the specifics of each apprenticeship below. 

Before we get into the specifics of each job role,  we will look at some of the reasons to start an apprenticeship and how apprenticeships, in general, are an excellent way into your chosen career. Apprenticeships can be a great way to help your career flourish. Unlike other methods of education, they also provide relevant paid employment in the job role your apprenticeship relates to. 

This means that you are essentially doing the job that you are training for while you are being trained to do it. It is easy to work hard and end up pretty much embedded in the company. A substantial percentage of employers who take on apprentices keep them after the successful completion of the apprenticeship.  

The academic outcome that you achieve with your apprenticeship will depend on which type of apprenticeship you are applying for. They come in varying types from Intermediate Apprenticeship, to Advanced Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship level. 

Each of these relates to an educational attainment level so you may see intermediate apprenticeships also referred to as level 2 apprenticeships, while advanced apprenticeships cover Level 3, Higher Apprenticeships cover 4 and 5 and Degree Apprenticeships are Levels 6 and 7, which correspond to an undergraduate Bachelors degree and a Masters Degree respectively. 

One of the most popular aspects of apprenticeships amongst those who take part in them is the fact that you earn as you learn, so you will be earning money while at the same time learning all that you need to know in order to succeed in your field.

Apprenticeship Standards Relating to Finance

We have chosen a few of the apprenticeship standards relating to finance and will tell you a little about each of them so that you can understand what is expected. 

Accounts or Finance Assistant

This 12-month-long intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeship will give you a decent grounding in how to work in a retail financial setting such as an accountancy firm, or a bank. Your responsibilities will be quite low at first, shadowing others within the organisation and building your contacts so that you understand how the firm works better. You will be expected to learn as quickly as possible about the differences between financial and management accounting.

You will develop your knowledge and understanding of the structure of businesses and where the power lies within them, identifying controlling interests and beneficial partners as well as becoming familiar with aspects of commercial law and financial regulation as required.  

Financial Adviser

The apprenticeship standard for the financial adviser job role is two years in duration and is a Higher apprenticeship. You may be employed as part of a consultancy firm or in a bank, depending on the circumstances. A financial adviser is there to help their clients to manage their money better and to understand the safest ways to protect what they have in terms of assets. 

When you complete this apprenticeship, you will be required to join an organisation that has been set up to oversee ethics in the industry and to sign up for a code of ethics. This is another level of guarantee that helps to reassure clients that their money is safe with you and that you work for a reputable company. 

Financial Advisers are highly regulated and you will learn all about the various regulatory considerations as part of your off-the-job training, as well as meeting clients and learning from mentors at the on-the-job portion of your work. 

Investment Operations Specialist

At 18 months for a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship, this is quite a short amount of time to learn what is going to be expected of you in the job role. This job role focuses on the investment side of financial services, with most of your suits relating to making sure that investments and trades have been successfully placed and executed on behalf of clients. This can be high-pressure and often time-sensitive work.

Once you have completed this apprenticeship, you will be able to perform complex and specialised tasks for stock exchanges, banks and investment houses. You will be aware of risks posed by things like leverage and you may take a supervisory role in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly in your trades.  

What are the Long-Term Prospects for the Financial Industry?

 If you are thinking about job security, it doesn’t get much better than financial institutions. When everything went wrong with sub-prime mortgages in 2008, the UK Government and many other Governments around the world considered their financial sectors too important to allow to collapse, so they shored them up and bailed them out. That is quite a significant indication of which way the UK Government will jump in any kind of future crisis so the financial services industry should be safe for years to come.

So… Is an Apprenticeship in Finance a Good Career Path?  

Absolutely, finance is one of the best and most lucrative areas that you can get into as a young person and an apprenticeship allows you to gain experience and get your foot in the door. If you are interested in finding a finance apprenticeship in your area, try our dedicated apprenticeship jobs search today.

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Last Updated: Friday December 23 2022
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