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Financial Capability: What’s it like to study the Certificate in Financial Studies?

16 November, 2016Callum Abbott

Callum Abbott attends The Sixth form Colchester College. In this blog, he talks about what it’s like to study the Certificate in Financial Studies, how it’s helped his friends, and why he’s going to study the Diploma in Financial Studies.


Last year, I studied the Certificate in Financial Studies (CeFS), and this year I’m doing the Diploma. At our school, we did it as additional study, and I liked that everyone in that class wanted to take the course. The skills I’ve learnt so far, and the ones I’ll learn in the diploma, are very, very transferable throughout my adult life and the rest of my life.

In the future, I want to work as an international banker, with a focus on investments, particularly in the Asian markets. I’ve done some work experience at HSBC and from that I found I want to do something in investment banking with international markets. As I want to go into a banking career, I’ve done a lot of research myself about finance, so there were some things in the course I did know about already, but I also felt like I learnt a fair amount. One example was the Financial Services Compensation Scheme – I felt like I knew about it, but I didn’t know the details about it, so the course helped broaden my knowledge in that respect.

Callum Abbott with his class mates
Callum Abbott and his class at The Sixth form Colchester College

Last year, I went on a holiday with a few friends that was going to cost several hundred pounds. Because it was all my own money, I had to save for a few years before, which as a student was a bit difficult. I definitely wasn’t very good at budgeting for the first two years, and I knew I had to get better at it, but in the third year, I saved most of money, purely I think, from learning about it in the course. It helped me to know where I’m spending my money and how not to spend it on things I don’t need.

I even feel like I’ve been able to help out some of my friends.  A couple of my friends went to university last year, and almost immediately they called me up saying ‘I need help with my finances’, and I’ve been able to help them out a little bit. Most of it seems like common sense, but some people don’t really pay attention to their common sense.

The course is seen very highly by universities. If you do the course, I think it’s seen as a really good way of getting into finance. I think the qualification looks really good on paper, but I think it’s also helpful in real life. I’ve learnt skills that I think I’d carry on into adulthood, and will probably be using until I’m 90!
Learn more about the CeFS and our other Financial Capability qualifications.