College ensuring it meets skills demand in Financial Sector

The Scottish financial sector is the second largest in the UK, and is continuing to grow, despite economic challenges created by COVID-19.

With opportunities for people to move into the sector, City of Glasgow College is introducing new courses and adapting others to meet the demand.

The flagship college is currently the only one in Scotland offering HNCs and HNDs in financial services.

“We were also the first to pilot foundation apprenticeships in financial services, and have successfully delivered skills for work in the sector as part of our senior phase schools partnership, supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland,” explained Gus Grubb, the college’s Dean for the Faculty of Education and Humanities.

Working closely with employers and Skills Development Scotland, the college took the lead in developing an award-winning Fast Track to Financial Services course. Designed to upskill graduates, giving them opportunities in the sector, it is delivered by both lecturers and financial services industry experts.

“With unemployment expected to rise as we continue to come out of lockdown, and as furlough comes to an end, we are positioned very well as Scotland’s largest college to respond to the upskilling and retraining demand that will be placed on a range of sectors, not just financial services,” added Gus.

“The prediction post-Covid is that a number of industries, such as hospitality, will be hit harder than others. We may be able to mobilise individuals being displaced, to give them a short, sharp introduction to the wider aspects of financial services, and provide them with vital opportunities at a time of hardship.

“What we offer at the college, in alignment with the growth of financial services in Scotland, provides a base to support and kick-start the economy again with a skills led approach.”

City of Glasgow College also continues to lead the further education sector by recognising the impact of financial technology (Fintech).

The college is adapting its current Financial Services HNC to incorporate Fintech provision so that graduates will not only have knowledge of the latest developments in the financial services sector but will also have skills in developing software, data analytics, cyber reliance and various IT applications.

“We are always trying to lead the way and make sure we remain up to date so we are constantly evolving the curriculum in the light of what industry demands,” said Maddy Green, Associate Dean for Accounting and Supply Chain Management at the college.

To keep informed about the changing needs of the sector, the college is organising focus groups supported by Fintech Scotland. These include employers who provide information about the skills they will need from graduates in the next few years.

“We are fortunate to have good relationships with some of the bigger players in the financial services sector but, holding smaller focus groups, looking at SMEs and the skills they need, will be crucial in making sure our curriculum goes in the right direction. It will also increase the exposure our students have to these organisations,” added Maddy.

“Very often SMEs will need individuals with skills across a range of different subject areas who can turn their hand to many different things. An HNC in Fintech will bring them a knowledge of cybersecurity, data analytics and financial services regulations so that it really builds a very well rounded graduate.

“If you have the right skills and the right ideas, the Fintech sector has many opportunities for enterprising individuals and business start-ups,” said Green.

Please follow this link for details on the financial services courses the college offers.