Banking Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships

Did you know a man once robbed two banks with his face painted in lemon juice? He knew lemon juice made invisible ink, and thought it would render his face invisible on camera. It’s a true story.

Banking Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships

Did you know a man once robbed two banks with his face painted in lemon juice? He knew lemon juice made invisible ink, and thought it would render his face invisible on camera. It’s a true story.

Perhaps you also didn’t know that you can start a career in banking straight out of school. In fact, some of the UK’s biggest banks; including Barclays, RBS, and J.P. Morgan, all offer banking apprenticeships for school leavers.

Read on to find out how apprenticeships in banking work, what schemes are available, how much you can get paid, and why more and more young people are choosing the apprenticeship path…

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What are banking apprenticeships?

Banking apprenticeships are a marvellous opportunity for young people aged 16-24 to break into the banking industry.

Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with academic study to prepare candidates for specific roles within a company. A banking apprenticeship is a real job. An apprentice is employed to do real work, and acquire skills, qualifications and a wage for the duration of their scheme.

University is no longer the only route into the banking sector. In fact, some higher-level and degree apprentices are funded to work towards a degree whilst they work for a company.

So if you’re sitting at home eating Hula Hoops, watching niche European detective dramas (but nonetheless dreaming about a career in banking), consider doing an apprenticeship. Really consider it.

"I have definitely become more mature and more of an adult since starting my apprenticeship. Being in a corporate environment with colleagues more experienced and older than you forces you to adapt your mindset and the way you carry yourself. Also, my technical knowledge in regard to banking has definitely increased! I actually understand how investment banking works, and the technical side of things too" Jamil Rashid, Banking Apprentice at J.P. Morgan

How do banking apprenticeships work?

Banking apprentices work for a bank (or a company in the banking sector) on a full-time basis whilst studying towards professional qualifications. The structure of apprenticeships vary and depend on the bank that the apprentice is working for.

All banking apprentices, however, spend the majority of their time at work, receiving on-the-job training designed to help them in their future careers.

When you’re not working, you’ll be studying at a college or an external training facility. Some of the big banks (the real bigguns, the humpback whale-sized organisations) even have teaching facilities on-site.

Best of all? You're paid a full time salary.

"I am really enjoying my apprenticeship and I am happy with my choice to complete it rather than go to university. I think working alongside studying has allowed me to maximise my potential and gain huge amounts of invaluable experience. So far there has been nothing I haven’t enjoyed on the programme" Audit Apprentice at KPMG

Do investment banks offer apprenticeships?

Absolutely! Investment banking apprenticeships are a fantastic way to launch your career in a challenging and highly competitive industry.

There are currently four investment banking apprenticeships available:

  • Investment Operations Administrator (Level 2)

  • Investment Operations Technician (Level 3)

  • Investment Operations Specialist (Level 4)

  • Senior Investment and Commercial Banking Professional (Level 7)

Both the level 2 and level 3 investment banking apprenticeships are suitable for school leavers who have finished their GCSEs.

The level 4 investment banking apprenticeship is aimed at students who have completed their A-Levels, while the level 7 apprenticeship is designed for those who want to earn a degree.

US banking giant J.P. Morgan offers school leavers the chance to experience a front-office investment banking role through its apprenticeship scheme.

Their Level 6 Financial Services Apprenticeship programme allows you to complete a BSc (Hons) degree in Applied Science from the University of Exeter, while gaining two professional qualifications from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI).

How much do J.P. Morgan apprentices earn?

J.P. Morgan apprentices earn an average salary of £20,394 a year, though salaries on investment banking apprenticeships can range from £19,000 to £22,000 per year.

How many apprentices does J.P. Morgan take on?

J.P. Morgan accepts 120 apprentices each year, across all of its programmes. It’s expected that once you’ve completed your apprenticeship you’ll land a full-time job.

Watch this video to learn more about life as a J.P. Morgan apprentice


What qualifications do you need to work in a bank?

To work in a bank, you’ll need:​​

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent; including English and Maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A-Levels, or equivalent, for a higher apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship

Alternatively, you can apply to join a bank in a customer service role and work your way up. Retail bank professionals, for example, can become branch or service centre managers before promoting to senior management roles.

What are the different types of banking apprenticeships?

Whether you’d like to become a credit controller or a professional economist, there’s a wide range of banking apprenticeships available in the UK, including:

Level 2 (Intermediate) Banking Apprenticeships

  • Credit Controller/Collector

  • Financial Services Customer Adviser

  • Investment Operations Administrator

Level 3 (Advanced) Banking Apprenticeships

  • Advanced Credit Controller

  • Compliance/Risk Officer

  • Financial Services Administrator

  • Investment Operations Technician

  • Mortgage Adviser

  • Payroll Administrator

  • Senior Financial Services Customer Adviser

Level 4/5 (Higher) Banking Apprenticeships

  • Actuarial Technician

  • Financial Adviser

  • Investment Operations Specialist

Level 6/7 Banking Degree Apprenticeships

  • Actuary

  • Financial Services Professional

  • Banking Relationship Manager

  • Professional Economist

  • Senior Compliance/Risk Specialist

Banking Degree Apprenticeships (Level 6/7)

Did you know that it’s possible to earn a degree, get paid while studying for it AND gain 3-5 years industry experience in the process? A banking degree apprenticeship is an extraordinary opportunity to get a full Bachelor’s degree, without the tuition fees.

Degree apprenticeships in banking tend to focus on the role of a banking relationship manager. There are opportunities to specialise in the following areas:

  • Commercial/Business Banking

  • Investment Banking

  • Investment Management

  • Operations

  • Pensions

  • Retail Banking

  • Workplace Pensions

Banking degree apprenticeships take approximately 4 years and have been specifically designed to prepare you for a management position.

Entry requirements for these neat schemes vary as employers have individual criteria, however, the minimum requirements employers look for are:

  • Two or more A-Levels (in relevant subjects) OR an existing level 3, 4 or 5 qualifications

  • GCSEs in English and Maths

  • Candidates must be aged 18 or above


Banking Apprenticeships in London

London is the world’s financial hub and nearly all international banks will have a presence in the capital. Below is a selection of companies that employ banking apprentices in London:

The highest concentration of banking apprenticeships is in the City of London, however, you can find opportunities across the UK. Many banks run apprenticeship schemes in bigger cities like Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Edinburgh too.

Are there any banks near you? Check to see if they are employing apprentices. If not, find out if they offer any other opportunities to get work experience. Any experience you can get will help your CV stand out from the pack.


Careers in banking: What are the benefits?

Working Abroad

The banking industry operates all over the world. Literally everywhere. HSBC has branches in over 70 countries. There are even banks on the Moon. A career in banking will offer you countless opportunities to live and work abroad. It is a global industry, with junior and senior positions available across the continents - if you have aspirations to travel.

Salary and Benefits

The banking sector offers among the highest salaries for apprentices and graduates. Higher apprentice salaries at Barclays, for instance, can range between £18,500 - £23,500.

Banks also offer a wide range of other benefits, including health insurance, gym membership, subsidised travel, company shares and bonuses. Think of Abba’s song Money, Money, Money. That’s banking for you!

Fast-paced, Challenging Career

A career in banking is - as the subheading suggests - fast-paced and challenging. Picture the adrenaline of making high-value deals and screaming ‘SELL, SELL, SELL’ on the trading floor.

It may not all be as dramatic as screaming strange things down the phone, but the banking sector is highly competitive; the challenges faced by apprentices, graduates and senior professionals on a day-to-day basis makes it a highly-stimulating occupation.

Long-term Career Prospects

A career in banking offers young people long-term career prospects. Having a well-known bank or financial institution on your CV is catnip to employers.

If you decide to change jobs or move to another company, employers will fight over you like a band of starving cats.

The application process for banking jobs is rigorous and competitive, so even if you decide to pursue a career in a completely different industry, your experience will be held in high regard.


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