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New perspectives for a better future

Business | Published:

By Geoff Cook, CEO, Jersey Finance

Geoff Cook, CEO, Jersey Finance

Just a couple of weeks after the ‘Beast from the East’ struck our usually mild shores, we are now, thankfully, looking forward to spring. A time of hope, opportunity and to look at things from a new perspective.

These sentiments are synonymous with this time of year, and within the finance industry this is no different.

In fact, just as Jersey was being hit by an icy blast a couple of weeks ago, we hosted our Annual Review event, which gave us a chance to reflect on the past 12 months and also look forward to the coming challenges and opportunities this year.

We discussed at the event, for instance, the growing focus Jersey has on overseas markets and how more than half of new business for the finance industry is now coming from beyond Europe – something that should stand us in good stead post-Brexit.

We also discussed just how important the relationship is between the finance industry and the local community and how important it is for us as an industry to better explain how the success of the finance industry is good news for local people more widely. For instance, we know that for every £1 million generated by the finance industry, another £300,000 is injected elsewhere into our community.

This is equally the case on the all-important jobs front – the industry accounts for a quarter of total employment in the private sector, but more than that, for every ten jobs in finance, another nine are created and supported in other sectors across the Island.

Moreover, a recent survey we undertook among finance firms predicted an increase of 811 jobs in the next five years, which is good news both for those in the industry and for other sectors.

The expectation remains that the majority of finance roles (82%) will be filled from our on-Island population, which leads me nicely on to the crux of this column – just how vital it is to support and nurture our young people, the experts and leaders of tomorrow.

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More than 300 students from school or universities are joining the finance industry annually. That’s more than ever before and it bodes well for the future, but we must not rest on our laurels. Young people are the future and we must ensure that they are well-equipped and prepared for our ongoing economic success.

The industry already invests heavily in training and development. However, the way we work is changing rapidly and the future of financial services is becoming increasingly broad and diverse and ever more digital. It is crucial that we invest in developing the right skills to ensure that our workforce is equipped with the right competencies, both now and in the future.

The 20th March marks the official beginning of Spring. It is also, fittingly, the date when Jersey Finance held its annual ‘Meet and Greet’ event for students at the Pomme D’Or Hotel as part of our Life in Finance programme.

The programme is our flagship scheme for all local sixth-form students, designed to give them a taste of working in all corners of our industry through one or two-week placements in the summer.

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Our event offers the opportunity to sit down with firms and discuss what opportunities might be available to them and what a placement with them would entail and, more broadly, it gives students some invaluable interview experience.

Unsurprisingly, given the rising number of students looking at the wide variety of roles in the finance industry, the event is expected once again to be extremely popular. It’s just one of the ways that the finance industry is working with schools and students to help create exciting and rewarding career paths, and ultimately to create a better, sustainable future for us as an industry and for the Island as a whole.

The future of Jersey is in the hands of our children and, at this time of new perspectives and fresh starts, we are continuing to work with young people to ensure they are well-equipped for it.

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