Careers website for financial services and accountancy launches

The new service is aimed primarily at careers advisers and teachers, and can also be used by students, parents and anyone advising on careers in finance. It has been developed by the Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC), which provides strategic leadership for education, training and skills development for the UK financial services and accountancy industries.

The website offers a one-stop shop for people seeking careers information on the finance industry. The content, developed and tested with employers and industry bodies, includes factsheets and job profiles, information on entry routes, and much more. The first phase of Directions to go live covers: Wholesale Banking, Wholesale Insurance, Investment Management, Third Party Administration, Retail Insurance, and Financial Advice. Sections on Retail Banking and Credit, Finance and Leasing, and Accountancy will be added in the coming months, and video and written case studies will go online early in 2009.

"In the current economic climate, it's more important than ever to ensure that careers advisers have access to an objective source of information about the financial sector," says FSSC Chief Executive Teresa Sayers. "We would argue that, in uncertain times, objective information and advice is more important than ever. This sector accounts for the livelihoods of nearly two million people across the UK. These are significant industries that will still need to invest in the skills of staff for the future."

FSSC research into the needs of careers advisers found that they are often expected to be an authority on every occupation. This was seen as an unrealistic demand and, without reliable sources of information, became almost impossible. Advisers found that even before the current market turmoil, some existing careers information for the finance sector seemed inconsistent, and it was difficult for them to establish whether or not careers information had been approved by the industry.

The City of London Corporation has supported the development of Directions, by providing project funding for job profiles specific to the City of London. The FSSC is also working with Jobcentre Plus to promote careers in financial services and to address some of the recruitment needs of the industry. Following the London event, there will be launch events for Directions in the North of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.