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Ulster University Business School (UUBS) has welcomed the first cohort of new apprentices to its pioneering Financial Technology Higher Level Apprenticeship degree – an innovative programme co-created with industry to strengthen Northern Ireland’s reputation as a leading global location for FinTech.

Combining real-world experience with academic study, the BSc (Hons) in Financial Technology Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) has been developed alongside key industry partners to meet the evolving needs of the FinTech sector. Employers participating in the scheme include FinTrU, Dankse Bank and Allstate.

The local FinTech ecosystem has been a true success story for Northern Ireland and has remained buoyant throughout the crisis, however access to talent and skills will play a pertinent role in meeting the long-term needs of the industry. The programme embeds modern business practice and aims to develop, not only the requisite skills for the future of financial services, but to also play a fundamental role in shaping it.

Throughout the four-year apprenticeship, students will complete four days in employment and one day of blended study provided by the Business School over the duration of the four-year programme.

Welcoming the new cohort, Claire Mc Cann, Course Director and Lecturer in Finance at UUBS, said:

“We are very excited to welcome the inaugural cohort of FinTech apprentices and look forward to helping our future financial leaders gain the practical skills and knowledge that will allow them to progress into highly skilled careers within the FinTech sector. Skills and talent pipelines are critical to the future of the industry and the programme curriculum responds to the growing needs of the FinTech sector. Higher Level Apprenticeships are an effective and affordable tool for organisations to gain new skills and perspectives that are specific to their business and employers are already seeing real and immediate impact quickly.

As the government pledges further funding support to strengthen the apprenticeship system in NI, this alternative route to higher education is gaining popularity, with employers benefiting from forward thinking, industry focused students that have acquired knowledge and occupational competencies specific to their business. Apprenticeship students on the other hand can earn while they learn, apply learning directly to their day-to-day work and gain a professional qualification.”

Ross Gillespie, Head of Technology at FinTrU, said:

“FinTrU is delighted to be supporting the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme at UUBS. FinTrU is committed to giving local talent the opportunity to work on the global stage with the largest international investment banks and the Higher Level Apprenticeship enables students to gain industry recognised qualifications, whilst applying that knowledge to their career at FinTrU. This summer has seen five FinTech Apprentices join FinTrU’s Technology Department through the Financial Technology degree at Ulster University.

This is the first degree of its kind in the UK and FinTrU is a proud supporter of this opportunity through its partnership with the University. FinTrU has always been heavily focused on the training and development of their employees and this apprenticeship plays an integral role in allowing FinTrU to give students opportunities to excel in areas such as FinTech.”

Upon completion of the programme, students will gain a BSc (Hons) in Financial Technology with four years’ practical work experience. The course commenced in September 2020 and is also being offered as a part-time undergraduate degree.

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