Small firms in Oxfordshire must look to the future to tackle unemployment

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With official figures showing that unemployment now stands at 2.59 million, the Financial Skills Partnership has called on employers in Oxfordshire to invest in the future of the businesses by taking on new talent.

The Office for National Statistics has published its latest set of Labour Market Statistics which detail the level of unemployment across the country. According to the figures, the number of those out of work has fallen by 7,000 to 2.59 million. Graduates across the country are now entering the job market and as a result, there will be increased pressure to create vacancies.

The Financial Skills Partnership, the employer led body for the financial services industry, has created an innovative new route into the finance sector for unemployed graduates through its Graduate Foundation College. The FSP is calling for more companies to join them in this approach and invest in future talent.

Starting this month, the Graduate Foundation College will start putting bright unemployed graduates through a concentrated structured 10-week training programme which major sector employers such as Aviva, Just Retirement and Scottish Widows have helped provide, ensuring its quality and industry relevance. Successful graduates will then enjoy six months of paid industry experience with a small or medium-sized advisory firm.

The graduates will be trained up to the first module of the regulated investment advice competence qualification before being introduced to the advisory firms.

Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership, said, “This initiative will be hugely beneficial to small and medium sized businesses. These graduates can be the new blood needed to lower firms’ age profile, the talent to meet the new regulatory requirements and the creative catalysts to help their businesses grow. We’re inviting small firms to register to for this initiative and gain the benefit of new enthusiastic recruits with bright ideas.”

The pilot scheme for the Graduate Foundation College starts this month, will operate in Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Manchester and is inviting interested firms to sign up now.

Liz concluded, “Vocationally based training is the obvious and effective way to build skills for jobs, not just in our sector but across the wider economy, and we provide the first steps towards professional qualifications in this initiative. Small and medium-sized advisory firms stand to benefit most from this latest scheme, by tapping into the framework put in place by larger employers. In a sector where skills are at times scarce and sought-after, the faster this and other initiatives are taken up, the sooner the sector as a whole will be able to expand its skills base and thrive.”