Solving the mortgage talent crisis – are apprenticeships the key?

Apprentices do not come with pre-conceived notions…

Solving the mortgage talent crisis – are apprenticeships the key?

University degrees have long been considered the go-to approach to securing a job within the financial industry, however apprenticeships also have their place.

Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to learn on the job and prioritise experience, however one must also complete qualifications along the way.

Peter Izard (pictured), head of intermediary business development at Investec, explained that apprenticeships offer a long-term solution, as well as showing a desire to invest in a company’s own people. He outlined that an apprentice does not come with pre-conceived notions of how operations should be complete, and instead allows the company to help develop the individual in a way that best suits that business.

“Apprenticeship schemes offer an alternative to graduates, and I believe it is best to combine the two as it enables the company to receive two different streams of individuals,” Izard said.

Zulfi Islam, apprentice business development manager at Investec, explained that the apprenticeship scheme Investec offers provided him with an opportunity he was not aware existed.

“The apprenticeship scheme was perfect for me and offered an alternative to the university route - the scheme has enabled me to learn on the job and to help provide for myself while also gaining experience,” Islam said.

Izard outlined that companies have been taking on apprentices in non-customer facing roles, such as HR and IT, for years - now he believes apprenticeships in customer facing roles is an important step for the market.

Read more: “We’ve challenged lenders on their perception of what should be done”

What are the advantages?

Looking to the benefits of apprenticeships, Islam pointed toward the freedom the schemes offer, as well as the ability to learn and earn.

He also noted that apprenticeships provide an alternative opportunity for individuals that offer different skills to that of standard graduates, such as being geared toward hands-on learning rather than purely academic.

While he did acknowledge that within the apprenticeship scheme there are qualifications that must be completed, Islam said that the revision for the exams is done through gaining experience of the industry, which he outlined worked better for him.

Izard explained that employment is changing and people are moving away from the ‘snob’ factor of purely looking to graduates.

Read more: Investec strengthens London-based mortgage intermediary line-up

“An increasingly popular option for the younger generation are sandwich university courses, as these offer the qualification of a degree, alongside gaining experience within their chosen industry,” Izard said.

He noted that this provides the best of both worlds, and said that often companies contact these individuals after the completion of their degrees to offer jobs, which means they can go straight into employment following the completion of their university courses. During a cost-of-living crisis, Izard explained that this is the perfect scenario for a graduate, as they will be able to quickly start providing for themselves straight out of university.

Looking ahead, Izard said that he would like to see more lenders taking on apprentices, and said that they will undoubtably see the benefits straight away. 

“It is good for companies to accept multiple options, and the benefits of both are there for all to see – however, of course, some companies will still demand degrees from red brick universities,” Izard said.