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An action plan to attract more people to the variety of careers in Scotland’s financial services sector has been launched.
The Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s Financial Services Sector features a range of measures aimed at helping employers develop the skills of their workforce while encouraging new talent into the industry.
Developed by employers and stakeholders from across the sector, the plan is facilitated by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and aims to build on progress achieved since the first edition of the Skills Investment Plan was published in 2013.
Themes of the plan include the continued growth of apprenticeships and work based learning within financial services, the growing importance of digital skills and Fintech to the future of the sector, and greater engagement between the education and skills system and the industry itself.
The plan was welcomed by Jim Lindsay, former Chief Executive of Airdrie Savings Bank and Chair of the Financial Services Advisory Board Skills Group.
He said: “The foundation for Scotland’s global reputation in financial services is the talent and commitment of the people working in our industry.
“Maintaining and enhancing this reputation therefore demands a proactive approach to skills planning that identifies the needs of employers both now and in the future, and explores how those needs should be met.
“This is no easy task in a rapidly-changing environment where factors range from Brexit to the rapid growth of Fintech, but the Skills Investment Plan provides a framework through which the industry can engage with the skills system and ensure that foundation remains strong.”
The 2,700 financial services businesses based in Scotland contribute £8.9billion annually to the nation’s economy, employing 86,000 people.
Productivity is more than twice that of Scotland’s overall average, with each person in the sector contributing an average of more than £100,000 per annum.
Gordon McGuinness, Director of Industry and Enterprise at SDS, said: “For the future of our financial services industry it’s important that people are aware of the many career options the sector has to offer.
“There is now a greater variety of routes into the sector, with more financial services firms employing Modern Apprentices, while the development of Foundation Apprenticeships for senior school students and now Graduate Level Apprenticeships offers new options for employers looking to meet their skills needs.
“It is by continuing to work closely with the education and skills system in this way that Scotland’s financial services industry has the best chance of being able to grasp opportunities for growth.”
The number of Modern Apprentices starting in frameworks linked to financial services has increased by 57 per cent since 2013-14.
Numbers employed the sector are forecast to continue growing. By 2022 there is expected to be 47,500 job opportunities in financial services, comprising 11,600 new jobs and 35,900 opportunities created by people leaving the sector.
An increasing proportion of these opportunities are expected to be managerial, professional and technical roles, continuing trends from recent years.
Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn, said: “I welcome the new Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s financial services sector. This reflects the changing nature of the industry and means we are prepared not only to meet the range of financial services jobs available in Scotland now, but its requirements in the future.
“Digital skills are becoming increasingly important in financial services and developing these skills will allow us to take full advantages of the opportunities offered in new areas such as Fintech.”
The Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s Financial Services Sector is available to download at www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/media/42492/financial-services-sip-nov-2016.pdf