Building the future with apprenticeships

07 February, 2022Karen Taylor

Skyscrapers towering up into the skyThe theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is Build the Future. That’s surely something every bank and financial institution wants to support. So how can the apprenticeship levy help you do just that?

Since 2017, employers with an annual wage bill of over £3m have been paying the apprenticeship levy. That includes many employers in the banking and finance sector, which means our industry has a huge portion of levy funds sitting untapped.

The problem is that if you don’t use the levy within 24 months the funds will disappear. So it’s worth finding out whether you’re paying the apprenticeship levy or are entitled to other government funding.

You can then use this money for recruiting new apprentices or upskilling existing employees.

Recruit the brightest and best

What better way to ensure that skills are embedded from day one than to bring people into your organisation when leaving school or college? And to have them working – and learning – alongside your already highly experienced staff?

By offering good training and development, including the chance to do a degree-level apprenticeship, you’re more likely to attract the brightest people.

Degree-level apprenticeships allow employees to learn at work whilst studying for a bachelor’s degree with a syllabus that covers vital industry knowledge. It’s the perfect blend of academic excellence and practical experience.

Fund learning and development

However, the apprenticeship levy isn’t restricted to new recruits or younger age groups. You can use it to fund learning and development at any stage – even post-graduate.

That gives your organisation a fantastic opportunity to fill skills gaps – especially if you choose a training provider who can work with you to tailor your training programmes.

Offering your existing employees the chance to upskill and progress will also help you retain the talented people you’ve been nurturing for years. And research from McKinsey shows that redeploying and upskilling staff is 20% more effective than 'hiring and firing'.

Upskill for the post-Covid world

Digital, fintech and evolving customer expectations were disrupting banking and finance long before Covid-19. But over the pandemic that pace of change has accelerated.

That means banks and other financial institutions need employees with a blend of skills, knowledge and behaviours covering both financial services and digital technology.

This is exactly what apprenticeships offer. For example, the degree-level Financial Services Professional apprenticeship develops professionals with the aptitude and technical know-how to operate across the industry, rather than being ‘siloed’ into one niche area.

Mix academic excellence with practical industry experience

Your training provider should make the whole process easier for you as an apprentice employer.

Ask any potential providers about the support they offer. They should also be able to:

  • take you through the funding rules
  • explain the regulations, and
  • co-create a programme tailored for your organisation.

We’re lucky to have delivered apprenticeships in partnership with leading financial services organisations, so we can attest to the value of true collaboration can work.

An employer and higher education provider can co-create tailored, industry-relevant and academically robust programmes. The end result is a motivated workforce, that’s more than ready for the financial services sector of the future.


Karen Taylor
Karen leads the development, implementation and delivery of our apprenticeship strategy at higher and degree-level. Karen had a previous career in banking including financial institution relationship management before joining LIBF to specialise on our higher education, online and postgraduate programmes.

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