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Thinking of changing careers? The financial sector is buzzing with opportunity

And you don’t need a degree to get a foot in the door.

CAREER CHANGES ARE all the rage these days. Gone are the days of a ‘job for life’ where you signed on for a permanent pensionable job in a company and never left.

Now, times are changing and between new technologies creating new roles, the recession forcing people to change jobs or industries, and a whole host of other factors, a job for life is not really the norm any more.

So, if you’ve been considering changing careers, it’s a great time to do it. And if you’ve ever considered the financial services industry, they’re actively looking for new staff – 10,000 of them by 2020, in fact. Lucky you.

Finance is changing

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Finance and technology are moving closer together with companies like Paypal, Stripe and Apple all facilitating the movement of money – and this means that banks and other financial institutions need to stay up to date with, or even ahead of, the advancing technology. To keep up with the demand for new staff – particularly staff in the finance technology (fin tech) field such as data analysts, technical consultants and quantitative engineers, the financial services industry is actively seeking new staff. The good news is there’s a new scheme in place to facilitate people with no computing or financial experience to get a foot in the door.

Apprenticeship in Financial Services

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Following the recession, in an effort to get the economy back on track, the government was advised to implement a more European-style of apprenticeship scheme. Countries like Germany, the UK, and Switzerland have historically used apprenticeships across a wide range of sectors, not just in the industries traditionally associated with apprenticeships here such as hairdressing, plumbing and manufacturing. For that reason Financial Services Ireland (FSI) formed a partnership with National College of Ireland (NCI) to develop a suite of apprenticeship schemes that would open the financial services up to more people. The apprenticeships are open to people from all walks of life – from those who have just left school or haven’t finished college to those who are already in a career but are thinking about a change.

Who can do an apprenticeship scheme?

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Anyone. There are three different strands, aimed at three distinct groups of people. The first, Associate, is for school-leavers or those without a college qualification or experience in the financial sector. The second, Specialist, is for people with an honours degree in any discipline, although those with extensive, relevant work experience will also be considered. The highest level, Advanced Specialist, is for people with an honours degree and evidence of technical or mathematical ability.

How does an apprenticeship work?

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If selected to take part in an apprenticeship, you will have to interview for a role at one of the partnering blue-chip financial institutions in your chosen stream. If successful, you will be offered a two-year contract. You will work four days a week, and spend one day a week for thirty weeks (so just over a normal academic year) in college. When you finish, with luck, you’ll be offered a permanent role with your company.

How much does it pay?

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The pay varies depending on the company but all salaries are around the same, depending on the stream you’re assigned to.

  • Associate – €21,000
  • Specialist – €35,000
  • Advanced Specialist – €50,000

Not too shabby.

Where do I sign up?

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Head over to NCI and download the application form.

Would you consider an apprenticeship to change careers? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments below.

If you’re considering a move into the financial sector, head over to NCI and check out their apprenticeship scheme. There is currently a waiting list, so register your interest and NCI will be in contact shortly. The professional partners are all blue-chip financial companies, and you don’t need prior financial or computer experience. 

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