Establishing a graduate scheme is key to future-proofing the financial services industry, writes James Thomson, chief technology officer at Avelo.
Financial services fulfils a critical role in helping people find effective ways to manage their money so they are in a position to put a roof over their heads, protect their family or ensure an adequate income post-retirement.
Widely viewed as being largely made up of experienced practitioners, the financial services profession is dominated by experts that will take their wealth of knowledge and experience with them when they choose to leave the industry. Action is needed to avoid skills shortage, ensure succession and safeguard the business for the future.
Financial services needs to sit up now and take note to future-proof an industry that accounts for 10% of the country’s GDP, according to UK Trade & Investment.
Can financial services be the choice
There are signs of a growing appetite within the industry to recruit graduates and introduce the next generation with initiatives such as JPMorgan Chase’s ‘Code for Good’ Challenge, aimed at tasking students to creatively solve problems faced by non-profits organisation over an intense two-day period. The students involved get to showcase their skills to a potential employer while at the same time benefitting a good cause.
The New Model Business Academy (NMBA) has also recently been lauded for its initiatives in encouraging member firms to take on graduates and A-level students as apprentices.
So, how can adviser firms do similar and what is the cost involved?
When I joined Avelo, just under two years ago, I was tasked with re-structuring the technology teams to better enable the company’s future development. While the team is extremely experienced and skilled, I thought most value could be added by introducing more ‘balanced’ teams comprising a range of qualifications and experience. The Avelo graduate scheme was born.
At this point, you might ask what financial services and technology have in common. The answer is: more than you would expect. Both industries provide solutions to everyday problems and both industries’ futures are in danger if home-grown talent is not invested in.
The Avelo graduate scheme is a carefully planned and managed programme that sees an annual intake of new graduates. From the outset, graduate recruits are selected on their ability to steer the business into the future.
Key attributes are ability, attitude, energy and people skills, with successful candidates entering into an 18-month training programme.
This begins with an induction week incorporating a team-building day, followed by a series of regular structured training sessions (in a classroom environment), as well as working alongside Avelo teams on live client projects.
During the programme, they then move through bronze, silver and gold stages, with corresponding salary increments.
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