The programme, called Aspire, will involve structured training lasting 18 months, during which participants will achieve the necessary qualifications and skills required to become a fully qualified financial adviser.
All six diploma exams (R01 – R06) are included in the programme, as well as all support material including textbooks and remote learning support.
Regional exam revision sessions will be made available to all participants, as well as soft skills workshops delivered by an accredited trainer.
The programme has been made possible through apprenticeship funding and PFS sponsorship.
Taking the Initiative
Aspire’s launch follows the development of the Financial Adviser apprenticeship standard, which was sponsored by PFS and approved by the Department for Education in November 2016.
PFS chief executive Keith Richards said: “We are committed to driving new initiatives that address the very real and ongoing risk of future skills shortages and evident need for succession planning.
“We know there is an appetite from within the profession to employ apprentices, graduates and second career candidates seeking an opportunity to develop a career in professional financial advice, and Aspire removes many of the barriers facing employers that seek to develop this talent.”
Advice firms recruiting
A recent PFS survey revealed that more than three quarters of advice firms were considering taking on additional staff in the next three years, but more than one in five (22%) said a lack of talent and skilled trainees was a major short-term threat to the success of their business.
Aspire is available to any employed member of staff who works a minimum 30 hours per week, with additional assistance available for firms seeking to employ new recruits into the programme.
The programme is currently available for employees based in England, while policy clarification is sought for apprenticeship funding in the devolved regions.
An employer contribution of £900 ($1,120, €1,046) will be required for staff aged 19 or older, but for firms with fewer than 50 employees where the starting age is less than 19, no contribution is required.
There is an additional £1,000 incentive available for any size business enrolling an existing or new employee under the age of 19 into the programme.
Apprenticeship levy paying employers will not be required to make any contribution as they will draw down from their funds in their digital account.