In March, I wrote about the importance of supporting young people in their career progression to maintain the sustainability of the island’s workforce.
Having just held a fantastic awards ceremony to celebrate young industry professionals on the island, this topic is once again at the forefront of our minds.
The high levels of skills, training, and experience within our financial and professional services workforce have contributed significantly to Jersey’s reputation as an IFC of excellence, and we recognise the need to support young people entering the industry today to maintain these standards in the future.
Connecting with young people and providing them with the best resources that we can are both high on our agenda to dispel outdated myths of what working in finance ‘looks like’ and encourage local students, school leavers and graduates to consider a career in the industry.
To help with this process, we have in place a number of schemes, events, and awards, all designed to grow local talent and to encourage young people to progress in financial careers.
One of our longest-running initiatives is our ‘Life in Finance’ scheme, which was launched in 2013 to match up A-Level students with Member firms offering summer work experience on the Island. This year’s Life in Finance cohort is made up of 15 local students who have just finished Year 12. I am certain that they will benefit enormously from their placements and look forward to hearing about the insights they have gained into working in the industry.
Our work with students has also included the JCG LEAP Programme, a ten-day female leadership programme designed to develop students’ business, entrepreneurial and leadership skills. The students work together in teams to launch social enterprise projects to target key global issues, including pitching their ideas to a panel of experts. This year, 48 students took part – 24 local students and 24 international students from Taiwan, China, Turkey, Austria, the USA and Rwanda.
At Jersey Finance, we were delighted to contribute to the programme, both by sponsoring two places for Jersey students, and by leading sessions to help the students develop their projects. Amy Bryant, Karolina Pilcher, and Louise Burrows shared their expertise across sessions on financial reporting and pathways into careers, which I have no doubt will have left the students feeling empowered and fully informed of their options.
As well as engaging with students, we also support those in the early stages of their careers, for example through our ‘Future Connect’ initiative. ‘Future Connect’ is a forum which offers networking and development opportunities, as well as the chance to take part in our mentoring scheme which matches those in junior roles with senior professionals who are able to offer advice on career progression.
And, as I mentioned above, we recently announced the winners of this year’s ‘Rising Stars’ awards, which are designed to celebrate young professionals who will undoubtedly be industry leaders in years to come. This was the third year of the awards, and we were blown away by the amazing response from individuals, businesses, and the wider community. Over 150 young professionals were nominated across 14 categories, 42 were shortlisted, and over 50,000 votes were cast by members of the public to determine the winners.
We are incredibly proud to see so many talented, young individuals making an impact in their workplaces, and if the remarkable number of votes is anything to go by, we aren’t the only ones. The awards ceremony was the perfect opportunity to shine a light on their many accomplishments, and my thanks go to everyone who joined us.
We hope that these role models will inspire the next wave of young people to consider joining the industry. And, for anyone in need of more information, we have a number of dedicated resources available on our website, and we maintain an active presence at many skills and careers events on the island year-round, such as the Jersey Skills Show.
Of course, the issue of supporting the industry’s workforce into the future is multi-faceted and goes beyond supporting young people as they join the industry. There are a number of island and industry-wide issues which feed into this conversation, such as investing in the necessary skills training to ensure that the local talent pool is strong enough to remain competitive. A joined-up approach is needed if we are to create the best possible environment for local young professionals to thrive and grow into industry leaders.
From our side, we will continue our work to showcase the benefits of a career in finance, and to promote the industry’s efforts regarding sustainability, societal impacts, and diversity – all key issues that we know are high on the priorities of many young people.
We have seen more than 3,000 young islanders set out on a career in finance over the last decade, and we hope to see this number continue to rise. Our hope is that our island’s young people will understand what the industry can offer them – an avenue for career progression across a wide variety of roles, opportunities to learn, develop, and think creatively, and ultimately the chance to be involved in one of the most dynamic and forward-thinking industries in the world.