In a challenging job market, more students than ever before have undertaken work experience as part of a careers scheme organised by Jersey Finance and in partnership with Careers Jersey and local secondary schools.

23 students, all of whom are in the second year of the BTEC National Diploma at Highlands College, have just spent two weeks pursuing work experience at various local financial services firms as part of Jersey Finance’s ‘Your Life in Finance’ programme. That number is an increase of 35% on the same two week period last year.

Seventeen different local firms are hosting the students. They are Ashburton, Barclays Wealth, Bedell Trust Company, Capita Fiduciary Group, Collins Stewart, Dominion Trust, Hawksford, HSBC Bank International, IPES, KPMG, Lloyds TSB, Ogier, Rawlinson Hunter, RBC, RBS International, Santander Private Banking and Vistra .

In a development to the programme this year, the students have been handed the additional responsibility to contact firms and make their own arrangements for their work experience placement. In October, students also attended a CV workshop and a ‘speed dating’ style event where they got to meet representatives of different firms.

The ‘Your Life in Finance’ initiative aims to give local students the opportunity to learn new business and personal skills, develop their knowledge of the business environment and finance industry and gain an understanding of the factors they will need to consider before and during their careers.

Carla Harris, communications manager at Jersey Finance, commented:

“The Your Life in Finance programme goes from strength to strength, as is reflected in the growing number of students who have embraced the opportunity over the past couple of weeks. That firms continue to support it is fantastic too, as it simply wouldn’t happen without their commitment and enthusiasm.

“It’s a tough climate to find work in, so schemes like this are really helping give young people the experience they need to demonstrate their full potential to employers. In addition, handing more responsibility to the students this time around has helped them develop new skills and give them the chance to formulate a tailored placement experience that is beneficial for them and their chosen firm.”

Ed Sallis, Principal of Highlands College, added:

“This element of the initiative provides a fantastic opportunity for work-based learning, which can really help both provide new experiences and activities for our students and, at the same time, reinforce the relevance of what they learn at College. It also provides a unique opportunity for them to acquire an insight into the career choices that exist within the finance industry.”