Building the Future - Simon Thompson
“Build the Future” is the theme for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW2021), aiming to encourage everyone to consider how apprenticeships help individuals build the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career. Banking is no exception to this; as we highlighted in our Apprenticeships Insights paper (in 2018), apprenticeships offer outstanding opportunities to individuals at all stages of their careers, and help employers develop the workforce they need to successfully navigate a rapidly changing environment.
The wider societal benefits that highly skilled individuals bring should also not be undervalued – not least in terms of improving UK productivity, and supporting the transition to net zero. In the banking sector, in particular, we need to act quickly to ensure we attract, retain and develop the digital and green finance skills needed to ensure the UK remains the world’s leading financial services centre. In developing their own knowledge and skills, apprentices of all ages, and at all stages of their careers, help to build a banking profession creating shared, sustainable prosperity for current and future generations.
Apprenticeships have a major role to play in ensuring individuals and employers invest in the skills development required, and our apprenticeship standards and levy must evolve to ensure they remain fit for purpose. I believe, therefore, there needs to be a repurposing of apprenticeships – certainly in banking and financial services - to support the UK’s net-zero transition and export our green and sustainable finance expertise worldwide. This requires:
- Adding sustainability to existing apprenticeship standards (or quickly replacing standards where they are no longer fit for purpose). Banking and financial services could be a trailblazer, as green finance is not currently referenced in apprenticeship standards.
- Employers, universities, training providers and professional bodies to work together to develop apprenticeship programmes that ensure individuals develop the digital and green finance skills needed by the rapidly evolving banking sector – as is the case with the MSc in Retail and Digital Banking developed with the Institute and leading banks by Cranfield University (www.cranfield.ac.uk/som/management-and-leadership-masterships/retail-and-digital-banking)
- Allowing the levy to be used to fund shorter education and training focused more on reskilling/upskilling.
We at the Chartered Banker Institute are ready to play our part. We have a proud heritage of assuring professional and educational standards for nearly 150 years. More recently, we have been trailblazers ourselves for green and sustainable finance education in the banking sector, and we are also uniquely positioned to work alongside banks and training providers as both a professional body and End Point Assessment Organisation. The Institute offers:
- Qualifications that are integral elements of a range of banking and finance apprenticeships;
- The ability to provide End-Point Assessment for a number of standards;
- Advice and guidance for banking organisations that are developing an apprenticeship provision.
With our long history of working to develop and enhance the professional standards, skills and knowledge of individuals at all stages of their career within our sector, my colleagues and I appreciate how hard it can be to identify the emerging skills required, and develop the apprenticeship standards, assessments, training programmes and qualifications required to support these.
This is where professional bodies such as the Chartered Banker Institute, and our Chartered Body Alliance partners, can help as our membership of more than 200,000 active practitioners provides the insight and expertise needed to keep the professional knowledge and skills of colleagues in banking and financial services current. Supporting the development of the professional knowledge and skills needed by individuals and their employers to build the future we all want to see.
Simon Thompson FCBI