A careers fair with a difference was held for students and adults aged 16-plus in RCT looking for a chance to find out more about careers in finance.
Hosted yesterday by Coleg y Cymoedd at its Nantgarw campus, the fair provided learners and members of the public with the opportunity to learn about possible roles within finance and hear about available apprenticeships, work placements and qualifications within the sector.
Leading industry organisations, including Legal and General, Lloyds Banking Group, Deloitte and GM Financial were present on the day, alongside key academic providers and awarding bodies such as Cardiff University, the University of South Wales and the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) to offer their advice, answer any questions and highlight any career opportunities within their organisations. Attendees also benefitted from a number of talks from industry figures and lecturers on paths into finance.
As well as offering attendees advice on routes into finance, the event also aimed to change perceptions about what a career in finance looks like, dispelling myths that only those with a certain skillset can pursue a career in the industry.
Kim Purnell, Business Lecturer at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “There is often a misconception about what the financial services actually are. Often people say that they can’t pursue a career in the industry as they aren’t good at maths or wrongly assume that roles are limited to being an accountant when, in reality, this isn’t the case. While maths is of course important for certain positions, there are plenty of other career routes available within the sector. From working as an accountant to working within the HR or marketing department of a financial organisation, whatever your skillset, there could be a role for you.”
The fair comes as Coleg y Cymoedd has worked with local financial employers to develop an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Business and Financial Services in response to feedback that they are experiencing difficulty recruiting despite there being an abundance of available candidates.
The new course, which will be run by Kim and fellow business lecturer at the college Al Koursaros, has been informed by the two lecturers who have spent the last academic year on secondment working with financial organisations to determine what businesses are looking for from prospective employees in order to develop a course tailored to real industry needs and practices.
Al said: “The financial services currently has plenty of employment opportunities but despite this, we are consistently hearing from employers within the sector, and particularly locally in South Wales, that they are having difficulty finding suitable candidates. Put simply, the availability of relevant skills is unfortunately not matching the requirement. Upgrading the required skillsets for the financial industry is now a Welsh Government priority and something we are keen to help with at the college.”
Sandie Dunn, People Development Manager at Legal and General said: “Nothing is more important than developing the next generation, who will help drive the success of the financial sector in Wales. We’re delighted to be working with Coleg y Cymoedd to help shape the future.”
The course, which was developed closely with Agored Cymru and is the equivalent to three A-levels in one year, is aimed at both learners and individuals with life experiences who would like to change career, go to university or into employment within finance or the financial services sector but who don’t have the necessary qualifications to do so.
Victor Morgan, Access to Higher Education manager at Agored Cymru said, “The Agored Cymru Access to HE Diploma in Business and Financial Services was developed with Coleg y Cymoedd in order to provide opportunities for adults to pursue careers within the growing financial sector in Wales.
“The Diploma is designed specifically to support the development of specialist knowledge and the acquisition of relevant academic skills that can enhance the abilities and the confidence of individuals preparing for university. It provides a basis from which learners can identify particular areas of interest and plot their progression towards a clear vocational outcome within the sector. We are proud to have worked alongside Coleg y Cymoedd to develop this new and exciting qualification and we are confident that it will successfully meet the needs of an important area of growth within Wales.”
Coleg y Cymoedd will be hosting a series of open days across all of its campuses in Aberdare, Nantgarw, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Ystrad Mynach. The next open day will take place on Wednesday 24th May 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm.