Apprenticeships are central to raising skills and employability in the UK. There are now more opportunities available for young people (16+) wishing to enter financial services through an apprenticeship than ever before. Apprenticeships also provide a great opportunity to develop existing staff to propel them to the next level of their career.

CISI qualifications are now available as technical units for nine different financial services apprenticeships. Apprenticeships provide an alternative route for those wishing to enter into the industry without a degree, with many of the top banks offering competitive apprenticeship programmes.

Building an established apprenticeship programme

Whether you wish to recruit a new starter to the industry or up-skill an existing member of your staff we can help you to build an established apprenticeship programme.  Apprenticeships are great for business – investing in the future of your business and your staff.. From April 2017, setting up an apprenticeship programme will differ if you are a levy or non-levy paying employer.

NEW Your complimentary Apprenticeship guide

For your complimentary guide to building and running an apprenticeship programme and what the levy means for your firm, please email us at

Choosing a suitable apprenticeship standard

We have been working with employer groups to develop a range of apprenticeship standards which are aligned to specific job roles in the financial services industry. The standards provide apprentices with the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable them to successfully complete their role. Many well-known banks have successfully introduced apprenticeship schemes and are reaping the benefits

There are 21 financial services apprenticeship standards available and CISI qualifications currently exist in nine standards*

Financial Advice Apprenticeships
Financial services apprenticeship standards

There are over 170 new apprenticeship standards ready for delivery. These span a wide range of sectors, with many that may also be of use to your organisation including HR, Marketing, Sales, IT and Management. You can find the latest list of approved apprenticeship standards ready for delivery here.

Levy and funding for business

What is the levy?
  • Government are introducing an apprenticeship levy – this is a new tax on larger employers, which will be ring-fenced for them to spend on apprenticeships
  • The levy will be set at 0.5% of an employer's PAYE bill
  • This will only be paid on any PAYE bill in excess of £3m.
  • Employers that are in scope for the levy will start paying it from April 2017 and will be able to access the funds to spend on apprenticeships from June 2017
  • The levy will be collected by HMRC
  • Employers with a PAYE bill of less than £3m will not have to pay the levy. They will still have access to government funding to support apprenticeships, and this is likely to be on a co-investment model like the one in place now
Digital Apprenticeship Service
  • Levy funds will be held in a 'digital account', much like an online bank account.
  • From September 2017 levy-paying employers will be able to direct the funds held in these accounts to approved training providers to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment
  • For levy-paying employers, if they do not spend all their levy contribution after a reasonable amount of time, these will be used to fund apprenticeships for other employers.
  • The Digital Apprenticeship Service will, in time, provide a platform for firms to advertise roles and to easily find the right apprenticeship framework to fit your business roles
Current Funding
  • Government will contribute towards the cost of external training and assessment of apprentices
  • For every £1 an employer pays toward the cost of external training as a cash contribution, the government will pay £2
  • Each apprenticeship standard is assigned one of six funding caps. These indicate the maximum government contribution for that apprenticeship
  • Employers can receive up to three additional incentives per apprentice which are:
    • For employing an apprentice aged 16-18
    • If they are a small business with fewer than 50 employees
    • On the successful completion of the apprenticehsip
  • Employers are free to use incentive payments however they like
  • This will be the funding 'model' that applies to all employers if you are looking to recruit apprentices until at least April 2017

Setting up an apprenticeship scheme

Identify an apprenticeship role
  • Review the apprenticeship roles currently available in your sector
  • Remember that recruiting your apprentice may not be an external process; your apprentice can be an existing member of staff who is progressing within the business or moving to a new role
  • With the expansion of higher and degree apprenticeships, businesses can now also access the higher-level technical skills vital to business performance and growth
  • You can find all the apprenticeship standards here
  • Talk to the CISI; we can provide you with sector specific guidance to help you understand which apprenticeships are best for you
Search for a training organisation
  • You will need to work with a training organisation who will help co-ordinate and deliver the apprenticeship with you
  • You can search for training organisations here
Reruit your apprentice
Apprentice starts work
  • An apprentice is employed with a contract like any other employee
  • You will be able to work out with your training partner which elements of the apprentice's learning and development you can deliver and which you will require their support with
  • The CISI can provide presentation slides and films on best practice and guidance from speakers at the CISI Apprenticeship Conference 2016
Manage your levy account
  • Currently funding is managed through training providers
  • From April 2017, if you are a levy-paying employer you will also be able to use the Digital Apprenticeship Service to manage payments and instalments to your training organisations
  • The payments from your online account are made 'virtually' to the provider who will then receive the actual funds via the Skills Funding Agency once they have submitted data to them


For guidance on how to run an apprenticeship programme in your firm, please contact our Education Development team:

 +44 20 7645 0714

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship combines a job with an accompanying skills development programme designed by employers. Young people and adult learners can earn a salary whilst gaining technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with functional and personal skills, required for their immediate job and future career.

Find out more with the National Apprenticeship Service

Why become an apprentice?

  • Earn while you learn
  • A real job - As an apprentice you are employed (for at least 30 hours a week), with an appropriate contract of employment and will receive the same benefits as other employees. Apprenticeships are available at Intermediate, Advanced and Higher level (right up to degree and masters level), covering more than 170 industries and 1500 job roles.
  • A real future - After finishing, the majority of apprentices (85%) will stay in employment, with two-thirds (64%) staying with the same employer.

Apply for an apprenticeship

Vacancies are advertised on the National Apprenticeship Service website

Apply via the National Apprenticeship Service

Investment 2020

Investment 2020 is a group of employers which aim to give school leavers and graduates more opportunities to start a career in investment management. The offer is a year's placement and training which usually leads to a permanent contract.

Existing Investment 2020 trainees are eligible for a discount on our entry level exams, which means that they do not have to pay the qualification registration fee (usually £50).

 Investment 2020 Exam Booking Form

Oliver Balchin, Sales & Distribution Apprentice, M&G

As an apprentice at M&G, Oliver is also a member of the Investment 2020 Programme and he is currently studying the CISI's IOC.

Why did you choose a career in financial services? - I chose financial services because of the career prospects. There's a 'long ladder' to climb with so many opportunities. I also find it inspiring to work in the heart of the City.

What made you decide to do an apprenticeship? - After four years I will have the same level of qualifications as a graduate, but I will have a lot more value to offer, through the practical experience I will have gained, and the professional networks I will have built.

Tell us about your role as an apprentice… - I get in the office nice and early, and have breakfast while I check up on the Financial and Business news – it's essential to know what's going on. I have various ongoing responsibilities, particularly supporting the sales directors with arranging meetings and diary management. I'll often be working on preparing presentations and pitches for upcoming meetings as well. If I have any spare time at the end of the day, I'll try and squeeze in some study!

What do you enjoy most about your apprenticeship? - Although I am the foot of the business, I sit with and work directly with senior colleagues. My team are conscious that I need to feel valued - they challenge me with tough work, and show recognition when I do it well. Even though I'm the junior of the office, I'm treated the same as any other member of staff.

How are you managing your IOC study? - As well as using the IOC workbook to study from, I also find it useful to dip in and out of as a reference in my day-to-day role. The equities and derivatives sections have interested me the most so far.

Would you recommend the apprenticeship to others? - Yes. I think apprenticeships are for a certain sort of person. You are given almost immediate, full-on exposure to working, so I think it is important you are outgoing, ambitious, ready to get on, and not afraid of criticism.