31/07/2008

Chartered Banking Skills Targeted

A new financial services training initiative, aimed at facilitating future growth in the industry, has been launched.

NI Economy Minister Arlene Foster (pictured here with Rory Ferguson and Megan Flannery, two school leavers who have been shortlisted for the new programme) explained that the initiative, launched by financial group, Abbey, with support from Invest Northern Ireland and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will target new Abbey employees, primarily school leavers.

It will help to develop their financial services skills through a four-year structured career progression programme, she explained.

Developed in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Banking, the initiative will result in Abbey staff receiving a formally recognised financial services qualification, as well as Chartered Banker Status.

Speaking at the Abbey Building in Belfast, the Minister said: "Northern Ireland now boasts some of the world's most prestigious financial services names.
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"Indeed at the recent US-NI Investment Conference, Invest NI's success in attracting and retaining investment from this industry was profiled on a global stage.

"Central to this success has been a commitment to enhancing and tailoring the existing skills base to meet the specific needs of such international firms.

"Working with Invest NI, Abbey's development of, and commitment to, this new initiative will not only help to boost the competitiveness of Abbey's operations, it will offer our young people structured career progression opportunities in a key growth sector.

"Initiatives like this will serve to strengthen our reputation as a location for quality financial services investment," she said.

Glenn Lindsay, Director of Telephone Distribution, Abbey, added: "Abbey is one of the UK's longest established and highly respected financial services companies because of our commitment to service excellence.

"Chartered Banker Status is recognised globally by major financial services institutions and, with degree level equivalence, represents a high standard of financial services competence, quality and best practice.

"Combined with the four-year structured career progression programme it will help us to sustain the growth of our NI operations in an increasingly competitive global industry."

(BMcC)

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