With unemployment at record levels among 16 to 24 year olds, and a recent survey stating that many young people don’t feel they will ever land their dream job[1], a groundbreaking initiative is set for launch on 5th October.

The Financial Skills Partnership (FSP) is launching Directions – a free online careers destination for young people to gain an insight into the financial sector and pursue career opportunities with leading organisations. Directions will enable ambitious young people to link to employers and work opportunities, and introduce them to a career in finance – one of the 21st century’s most popular sectors.

With growing numbers of people choosing not to go to university because of rising tuition fees, the portal has been created to inform young people about the alternative routes into a career. It will help them find out about opportunities in the sector, which includes everything from one day work experience through to full placements, apprenticeships, and school and college programmes. By taking part in these opportunities, they can begin to build a network of experience and contacts that will help them to enhance their job prospects.

Companies including HSBC, Aviva, Barclays, Nationwide and PricewaterhouseCoopers have signed up to Directions, giving input and advice from some of the major players in the industry.

Directions will be launched on behalf of FSP by HSBC “the world’s local bank” at World Skills London on 5th to 8th October. World Skills is a high profile event where 1,000 young people will compete in 46 skill areas. And with 150,000 visitors expected, it will provide the perfect opportunity to learn about the exciting prospects the portal will deliver.

Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership, said, “We know from first-hand experience and our strong relationships with careers advisers and teachers, that young people are confused as to where to start to find out about opportunities. Directions enables young people to obtain first-hand experience of the world of work in financial services, accountancy and finance. They get to access the opportunities that our sector can offer, understand the skills and behaviours that our industry wants, and build crucial relationships with their future employers.”

New media and interaction will be used to engage and inspire the users, with video case studies and content relevant to each stage of an individual’s career planning process. Directions provides expert job profiles for 70 careers in the financial sector, a showcase of work experience, school leaver and apprenticeship programmes, and a proactive interface where the portal keeps in contact with the user.

Liz continued, “We challenged our industry to open their doors wider, to provide access and entry points for a broader cohort of young people. Employers are responding with innovative vocational alternatives to university and experience of work initiatives. Directions provides them with an industry-wide mechanism to change the way that young people find out about, evaluate and access these opportunities – and can revolutionise the way that young talent identifies opportunities.”

She also added that a small business version will be developed over the forthcoming months.