Apprenticeships in banking - could this be the future?

Marcus Williams 01.10.2012

There's a time when 'investment bank' and 'apprenticeship' would not have typically been mentioned in the same sentence.

Well times have changed and even in these cost stringent times of shareholder scrutiny, organisations like Goldman Sachs are lining up to take on the Ladder for London Scheme – as highlighted in an issue of last week’s Evening Standard.

Upon joining the scheme employers are presented with a shor

tlist of candidates to interview and select an individual for 12 months, pay them at least £8.30 (the London living wage) for a at least 30 hours a week and release them one day a week to complete their NVQ. The government may also give some employers cash incentives for taking apprentices.

Over the past few years its been evident that skilled workers have been more valuable and hired more often than graduates or career changers despite the cost difference in salaries.  Student debt is growing and becoming a concern, university costs in America have gone over the $1 trillion mark and has over taken credit card and car loan debt (still a long way off mortgage debt) but its the second highest debt in the US and with an uncomfortable default rate of 21% it's not looking like a wise move for an individual interested in 'higher education'.

Is banking going to lead the way back to on the job training?  Rather than off-shoring are they going to take apprentices?  Maybe training contracts will become commonplace for people to learn banking basics.  In the same way that a temporary position can enhance a skill set very quickly, could young, bright individuals see a career path in on-the-job training rather than going to university? I definitely think a university education has its place but equally, I believe that more apprenticeships will ultimately help to boost the economy.

The 'hidden costs' that some may see in giving your time and energy to developing the individual is an unfortunate way to view such a worthwhile scheme but a serious consideration for a small or medium sized business.  Giving individuals the chance to succeed and seeing this actually happen, I think well lead to a lot of businesses keen to sign up to this scheme in time - especially with global heavyweights like Goldman Sachs setting the example.

What would you get an apprentice to do in your firm?

Marcus Williams's picture
Associate Director | Finance & Marketing