Higher Education

Higher education and careers in financial services

Many students now choose to progress to higher education and, for some careers in financial services a degree is the minimum entry qualification required by employers.  There are a range of courses that you can choose to study at university, some which are financial services specific.  You can search for courses at universities around the UK on the UCAS website - www.ucas.com

Employers generally accept graduates with any degree discipline; however it is possible to study a subject that is financial services specific.  Some key elements to consider when choosing a degree are:

Is there an opportunity to gain experience whilst studying?

Some degree courses offer students an opportunity to take part in a sandwich placement.  A sandwich placement is a one year work placement, often paid, providing students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge they have gained from their degree studies to a work environment.  Many universities have a placement office that coordinates student's placements.  Undertaking a placement year brings the opportunity to gain relevant experience that can be included on application forms for employment upon graduation.

Does the degree have professional qualifications included?

Some jobs in the financial services industry require people to have obtained certain professional qualifications before they can do the job unsupervised. Degrees that are financial services focussed sometimes have a relevant professional qualification attached to them. Students may find it useful to consider these degrees as it will enable them to demonstrate to the employer their commitment to their career, alongside reducing their own time in studying for the professional qualification once graduated.

What jobs have past graduates progressed into?

All universities collect information on what their graduates have progressed on to do - whether into employment or further study.  The careers service in each university holds this information and it is useful to look at what types of work that students have progressed to. 

Foundation Degrees

There are different types of degrees that can be taken at university. One option is a foundation degree.  A foundation degree integrates academic and work-based learning through close collaboration between employers and providers. It is designed with employer involvement and is intended to equip learners with the skills and knowledge relevant to their employment.  It is a standalone qualification but also provides opportunities for further study, which could take a number of different forms, including progression to at least one articulated and appropriate honours degree programme.

Foundation degrees can be taken full and part time and students with a range of level three entry qualifications can apply.  Applications for full time courses should go through UCAS.

A foundation degree in financial services could include some of the following units of study:
- The financial services environment
- Risks
- Ethics
- Regulation
- Customer service
- Interpreting financial information
- Management 

For more information on Foundation Degrees, please visit here -  www.foundationdegree.org.uk.


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