By Daniel Hunter

While a number of professions are accused of not doing enough to welcome a diverse range of young people into jobs, the Financial Skills Partnership has responded to what it calls a ‘pressing need’ to diversify the industry.

The comments of the FSP’s CEO come as Alan Milburn, the deputy prime minister’s social mobility adviser, released a report stating that more should be done to open professions to young people from poorer backgrounds. His report says that too many professions recruit from a narrow range of universities and regions.

The Financial Skills Partnership has launched Directions - a free online careers destination for young people to gain an insight into the financial sector and pursue career opportunities with leading organisations. It helps them to find out about opportunities in the sector, which includes everything from one day work experience through to full placements, apprenticeships, and school and college programmes. It is also accompanied by a range of outreach activities for those in education and career advisers where employers can talk about the work of the sector and where young people from all walks of life can be inspired to consider the sector as a future employer.

It’s hoped that if young people have access to information about the sector from an earlier age, they will be more likely to consider the career as a possibility. In addition, it will encourage a greater deal of interest among a wider range of future applicants to the sector.

“It certainly is true that a lot of progress has to be made. As well as achieving the wider goal of increased social mobility, and helping to reduce youth unemployment, industry sectors such as financial services will also improve the level of service they provide to their customers if they recruit from a wider range of young people," Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership, said.

“The finance industry has already begun to respond to the pressing need to diversify the industry’s recruitment channels. However, the key to creating significant change is tackling the misconception that finance is an elitist sector. The introduction of the Directions portal has meant that young people from all backgrounds have access to hands-on working opportunities that will open doors for developing their careers.”

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