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Ulster Programme Skills Graduates For Financial Sector

Unemployed graduates are being helped to forge a career in the financial sector by participating in an intensive University of Ulster course, which began this month.

Funded by the Department for Employment and Learning, under its Assured Skills programme, the Graduate Development Programme in Financial Services (GDPiFS), has attracted 150 candidates.

The course, which provides candidates with an opportunity to take the professional exams of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment’s (CISI), is based at the Belfast campus.

Professor of Finance and Investment, Philip Hamill, who developed the Programme said: ”The first course, which ran at the beginning of 2011 with just over 100 students, was a pilot but it proved a success and many of the students gained employment in the financial services sector.

“DEL funded a second cohort with the aim of significantly increasing the number of candidates and today 150 graduates from a range of disciplines have registered.”

The GDPiFS is an intensive programme running over August and September. Successfully completing the course leads to the award of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment’s Investment Operations Certificate (IOC) and professional membership of the institute: A benchmark qualification which is a must for many employers in the financial services sector.

Professor Hamill added: “Building a significant financial service sector in Northern Ireland is a strategic economic objective. To achieve this goal it is important that we can demonstrate to existing financial services firms, and potential investors, that we can provide a critical mass of graduates with qualifications that meet industry needs.

“The success of the GDPiFS not only contributes significantly to economic growth but also allows Invest NI to demonstrate to potential foreign investors that the University of Ulster can meet their needs."

The Assured Skills programme is an integral part of the Department for Employment and Learning’s recently published Skills Strategy, ‘Success through Skills – Transforming Futures’.

Caption: First day of class for students on the Graduate Development Programme in Financial Services at the University of Ulster. They include (left to right) Peter Sproule, an Architecture graduate from Greenisland, Aisling O’Hare a Drama graduate from Newtownabbey and Ciaran Hamill a Law graduate from Portadown and Professor Philip Hamill.