Financial Services Skills Council to set up academy for the sector

The Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC) has been successful in its bid to create a national financial services academy.

The academy is scheduled to open in September 2006, with an initial three centres in London, Manchester and Norwich. Further centres will be developed in other areas, likely to include Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds.

Employers signing up to the bid include Nationwide Building Society and Norwich Union Insurance. Other partners include the UK Career Academy Foundation, the London Development Agency and the Corporation of the City of London.

The aim of the academy will be to provide solutions to some of the long-standing skills problems facing financial services employers. These include improving the employability of young people, providing entry-level training of high quality and facilities for retraining and continuing professional development.

Employers will decide on the programmes offered, which might include new education and work-based routes to employment and flexible, short programmes.

Education secretary Ruth Kelly, who made the announcement, said: “In the past, government has let down employers when it has tried to second-guess what different sectors need.

“But equally, employers have been guilty of watching government initiatives from the sidelines and expressing disappointment when they inevitably land wide of the mark.

“National skills academies are an opportunity for government and employers to achieve common goals, to pursue a mutually beneficial endeavour and build a Britain of enterprise and opportunity.”

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