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 the professional sphere without a degree, with many of the top banks offering competitive apprenticeship programmes.

Apprenticeship Brochure - Levy

Building an established apprenticeship programme

Whether you wish to recruit a new starter to the profession 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.

Request your complimentary guide to apprenticeships and the levy

For your complimentary guide to building and running an apprenticeship programme and what the levy means for your firm, please register here

Why invest in apprenticeships?

  • Apprenticeships are great for business – investing in the future of your business and your staff
  • An effective way to develop talent and meet your firm’s training needs
  • Provides your firm with the skills force it needs for the present-day and future
  • Opportunity to develop existing employees’ capabilities and skills
  • Can be a cost effective way to recruit staff

“Apprentices bring a fresh approach to roles, they’re exceptionally keen and have a very positive attitude to starting in the workplace.”

Phillip Paige, VP – Junior Talent Pipeline Manager, J.P. Morgan

Hear from our expert panel on exciting new developments within the apprenticeship landscape

This timely event hosted at the CISI London office focuses on the Apprenticeship Levy and advice for those setting up an apprenticeship programme. There is also a full update on the Financial Services Professional Degree Apprenticeship and the Financial Services Masters Apprenticeship.

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 23 financial services apprenticeship standards available and CISI qualifications currently exist in 11 standards*

Apprenticeship Role Area Level of apprenticeship Duration on apprenticeship CISI qualification included in standards Funding Band Max gov. funding available Entitled to membership of the CISI through apprenticeship
Investment Operations Administrator Operations Level 2 12-18 months Level 2 Fundamentals of Financial Services 7 £5000 One year’s membership at Affiliate level
Investment Operations Technician Operations Level 3 18-24 months Level 3 Investment Operations Certificate (IOC) 9 £9,000 One year’s membership at Associatelevel
Senior Financial Services Customer Adviser Operations Level 3 12-24 months Level 3 Investment Operations Certificate (IOC) 9 £8,000 X
Compliance/Risk Officer Compliance/Risk Level 3 15-18 months Level 3 Combating Financial Crime

Level 3 Global Financial Compliance

Level 3 Risk in Financial Services

Level 3 Managing Cyber Security
9 £9,000 X
Investment Operations Specialist Operations Level 4 18-24 months Level 3 Investment Operations Certificate (IOC)

Level 4 Managing Operational Risk in Financial Institutions

Level 4 Investment Advice Diploma (IAD)

Level 4 Certificate in Investment Management
9 £9,000 One year’s membership of the CISI at Associate level
Paraplanner Financial Planning Level 4 24-36 months Level 4 Certificate in Paraplanning 9 £9,000 X
Financial Adviser Wealth/Retail Level 4 24-30 months Level 4 Investment Advice Diploma (IAD) 9 £9,000 X
Senior Compliance/Risk Specialist Compliance/Risk Level 6 36-42 months Level 6 Diploma in Investment Compliance 15 £27,000 X
Relationship manager – Banking Wealth/Retal Level 6 48 months Level 4 Investment Advice Diploma (IAD)

Level 6 Private Client Investment Advice and Management (PCIAM)
15 £27,000 X
Financial Services Professional

Investment Management

 Level 6  42 months CISI Level 4 Certificate in Investment Management

Level 6 Private Client Investment Advice and Management (PCIAM)

Level 6 Diploma in Investment Operations
 12  £18,000  X
Senior Investment/Commercial Banking Professional

Investment Management

Investment Operations
 Level 7  18-24 months. Chartered Wealth Manager Qualification

CISI Diploma in Investment Operations
 12  £18,000  X


Financial services apprenticeship standards

There are over 190 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

The Apprenticeship Levy, which came into effect on 6 April, will encourage more organisations to offer apprenticeship programmes to develop and upskill both new and existing members of staff and allow employers to take control of their own funding of apprenticeships.

Don't let your levy funds go to waste

In order to run an apprenticeship programme, employers will need to register online with the Department for Education and choose an approved training providers from the Register of Apprenticeship Training Provider (RoATP). This register will encourage diversity of apprenticeships, supporting quality and employer choice.

What is the apprenticeship levy?
  • The levy payment is 0.5% of your total pay bill and will be collected via your PAYE bill. The funds are restricted to cover training and assessment of approved apprenticeship programmes.
  • Employers with a PAYE bill of less than £3 million will not need 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
  • Funding incentives are available for employers who employ 16-18 year olds, and 19-24 year olds with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
What is the Digital Apprenticeship Service?
  • All levy funds are held in a 'digital account', much like an online bank account. From June 2017, levy-paying employers will be able to direct funds held in these accounts to approved training providers to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment.
  • Funds must be spent within two years or will expire.
  • The Digital Apprenticeship Service will, in time, provide a platform for firms to advertise roles and find suitable apprenticeship frameworks to fit your business roles.
  • The Digital Apprenticeship Service will be available for non-levy paying employers from 2018.

Setting up an apprenticeship scheme

Levy payers

  1. Register with the Department for Education to run an apprenticeship programme
  2. Register for an ‘employer’s digital account’ through the Digital Apprenticeship Service
  3. Identify a suitable apprentice role and select a suitable apprenticeship standard
  4. Choose an approved training providers from the Register of Apprenticeship Training Provider
  5. Recruit your apprentices
  6. Apprenticeship starts work
  7. Manage your levy account

Non-Levy payers

  1. Register with the Department for Education to run an apprenticeship programme
  2. Identify a suitable apprentice role and select a suitable apprenticeship standard
  3. Choose an approved training providers from the Register of Apprenticeship Training Provider that you want to deliver the training and negotiate a deal with them
  4. Recruit your apprentices
  5. Apprenticeship starts work
  6. Manage funds through a ‘co-investment’ scheme in which government will pay 90% of training and assessment and you will be required to contribute the remaining 10% up to the maximum amount of government funding available for that apprenticeship
For more tips to running an apprenticeship scheme, request our 'apprenticeship guide for firms' by emailing us at

  Apprenticeships FAQs


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

+44 20 7645 0654

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

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.