Finance career

Launching Your Finance Career: Exploring School Leaver Schemes, Graduate Programs, Internships and more

Are you considering a finance career? With its diverse opportunities and promising growth prospects,  the financial sector is an appealing choice for many aspiring professionals. Whether you’re a school leaver or a recent graduate, there are various pathways available to kickstart your finance career. We’ll delve into the various gateways into a finance career, with a range of options to help you navigate your way towards a successful future in finance. 

School Leaver Schemes:

School leaver schemes provide an excellent opportunity to enter the finance industry directly after completing your secondary education. These programs are typically offered by large financial institutions and involve a combination of work experience and studying. It is important to ensure you are finding the right school leaver scheme for you, and research is crucial. Explore different companies offering school leaver schemes and identify the ones aligning with your career goals. Research their entry requirements, benefits, and training programs. Tailor your application, craft a compelling application that showcases your passion for finance, academic achievements, and relevant skills. Highlight any finance-related extracurricular activities or accomplishments to demonstrate your dedication. Prepare for interviews, be ready to answer questions about your interest in finance, your strengths, and your long-term goals. Practise mock interviews to enhance your confidence and communication skills.

Graduate Programs:

Graduate programs are structured training initiatives designed for individuals who have recently completed their undergraduate studies. These programs offer comprehensive training, exposure to different areas of finance, and the opportunity to develop practical skills. But how can you make the most of graduate programs? Research and apply early, begin your research early to identify financial institutions offering graduate programs. Familiarise yourself with their selection criteria, application deadlines, and programme details. Polish your CV and cover letter, tailor your application documents to highlight relevant coursework, internships, and any finance-related projects you completed during your undergraduate studies. Showcase your problem-solving, analytical, and teamwork skills. Prepare for assessment centres, many graduate programs involve assessment centres where you’ll participate in group exercises, interviews, and presentations. 


Internships provide valuable hands-on experience and insight into the finance industry. They allow you to work alongside professionals, gain practical knowledge, and build a network of contacts. Follow these tips to maximise your internship experience, research internship opportunities, explore internship programs offered by financial institutions, investment banks, accounting firms, and other finance-related organisations. Use online job portals, career fairs, and university resources to find suitable opportunities. Customise your applicator, tailor your CV and cover letter to highlight your relevant coursework, skills, and any previous finance-related experiences. Emphasise your eagerness to learn and contribute to the organisation. Learn actively and network, take initiative during your internship by asking questions, seeking feedback, and offering assistance wherever possible. Build relationships with colleagues and professionals to expand your network.


Apprenticeships provide a blend of practical training and academic study, offering a pathway to gain professional qualifications while working in the finance industry. Identify suitable apprenticeships, look for apprenticeship programs offered by financial institutions, accounting firms, and regulatory bodies. Understand their requirements and the qualifications you can obtain through the program. Showcase your passion and commitment, in your application and interviews, demonstrate your enthusiasm for learning and pursuing a long-term career in finance. Highlight any relevant skills or experiences you have gained. Take advantage of mentorship, apprenticeships often involve mentorship opportunities. Utilise these relationships to seek guidance, gain insights, and build a strong foundation for your finance career.

Work Experience:

While not as structured as internships or apprenticeships, gaining work experience in the finance industry can be a valuable stepping stone towards your career goals. Here are some ways to gain work experience, volunteer or seek part-time positions: Offer your services as a volunteer or seek part-time positions in finance-related organisations. This will provide exposure to the industry and enhance your understanding of its various roles and responsibilities. Networking and informational interviews, connect with professionals in the finance industry through networking events or online platforms. Request informational interviews to gain insights into their career paths and seek guidance for your own journey. Develop relevant skills, Use online resources, courses, and self-study to develop skills relevant to the finance industry. Expand your knowledge of financial concepts, data analysis, and software applications commonly used in the field.

Embarking on a finance career through school leaver schemes, graduate programs, internships, apprenticeships, or work experience can provide a strong foundation for success. Each pathway offers its own unique benefits and learning opportunities. By carefully researching and planning your approach, tailoring your applications, and actively engaging with industry professionals, you can increase your chances of securing a promising position in the finance industry. So, take the leap and pave your way to a rewarding finance career!

Here is a link to graduate schemes in the finance sector to have a look through –

If you’re looking for further assistance with kickstarting your career, get in touch today!

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