How to Kick Start your Career in the Financial Sector

If you know you want to start a career in the financial sector, you have a number of choices. Firstly, you can go to university and obtain a degree in finance. Secondly, you can start a job straight after leaving school and ‘learn while you earn’. It will depend somewhat on which area of finance you want to work in, and what the specific employer you are looking at working for is asking for, so research is important. Here are some ideas on how to get started and which sectors you would go into.

Mortgage Advisor

If you want to be a mortgage advisor, you will need to have CeMAP accreditation. CeMAP is the industry benchmark, and if you don’t have this, you won’t be able to show that you are an authorised mortgage advisor; it is an industry standard, a mark of excellence and professionalism.

According to Beacon Financial Training who specialise in CeMAP training, there are five stages to becoming a mortgage advisor, and the CeMAP training is probably the most important of all.


If accountancy is your preferred financial career, you will need to start with good academic grades of ideally B in both GCSE maths and English. If these are the last qualifications you have and you don’t want to go on to further or higher education, then this won’t stop you from becoming an accounting, but you must be aware that you will spend at least the first two years working towards obtaining basic certificates, and the next three years obtaining professional certificates.

Alternatively, you can go to university to obtain a specific accountancy degree. For some this is the preferred method of getting into this sector, and for others working and learning is much better. It will depend on your personality and how well you enjoy education.

Investment Banking

If you think of jobs in finance investment banking or management might be what comes to mind. It is a lot of hard work, but the rewards can be exceptional. In the main, there are two routes into this area of work; you will either need to join a school leaver programme (sometimes called a higher apprenticeship) or a graduate programme.

School leaver programmes usually require at least three A-levels with grades at A to C. In some cases this will need to be a specific subject such as economics or maths, so it pays to make sure before choosing which A-levels you intend to study. Your GCSEs may also be checked over, and you will need five with A to C grades; these will need to include maths and English.

For graduates, you will need to have (or be on track to receive) a 2:1 or equivalent. It often doesn’t matter what degree you have, which is why this can be a useful way to get into finance; you don’t have to decide until you actually apply for the programme.


There are many different areas of insurance, which is why it can be such a popular type of financial career to get into. Because of this, graduate and school leaver programmes have been developed which will help give those who want to work in finance the career they have been looking for.

For school leavers, it is the level 4 higher apprenticeship in insurance that will suit best. You will need to have A-levels (two or three at grade A to C – you will need at least 240 UCAS points) as well as a minimum of five good GCSEs (grades A to C) which will include maths and English. Once you have completed the level 4 apprenticeship, you can move onto the level 6 apprenticeship (there is no level 5) which is the equivalent of a degree. After this comes level 7 which is the equivalent of a masters.

For graduates the entry requirements will vary from employer to employer

For graduates the entry requirements will vary from employer to employer. Most of them will look for a degree of at least a 2:1, as well as at least 280 UCAS points at A-level. Once on a graduate scheme it will take two to three years to complete the training and obtain the relevant qualifications. Within this time frame, you will work towards professional qualifications that are relevant to the area of insurance you want to work in. That means an ACII for broking and underwriting, of CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) for finance and accounting, amongst many others.

This means, of course, that you will need to know exactly which area of insurance you want to work in before you apply. Therefore, it pays to do as much research as possible.

Here at Jobwise we recruit for a large amount of roles in the Finance Sector! If you fancy a new finance challenge then get in touch with us today.

Written by Ella Hendrix, a versatile freelance writer, currently covering articles on new business, office trends, digital technology and British working culture.

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