NCI Blog

IFS Apprenticeships: Your Key Questions Answered

Posted by Andrea Leyden on 23 February 2024

IFS Scholarships - FAQ Blog Post 2

You might know that there are traditional undergraduate and postgraduate study options available at NCI but did you know that we also offer apprenticeships in both finance and recruitment?

Below we share the facts about our IFS Apprenticeships so if you’re thinking about starting a career in financial services, this could be your next step.

What is an IFS Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship in International Financial Services (IFS) allows students to ‘earn as you learn’ by combining paid on-the-job training with academic study which is delivered at National College of Ireland. These two-year programmes are ideal for anyone who wishes to launch a career in this field, whether that's someone who is finishing their second-level education or someone who is switching careers.

There are two options available:

With both courses, students will start working with a company within the IFS sector while studying at NCI.

What are the benefits of an IFS Apprenticeship?

Choosing an IFS Apprenticeship means putting your career on the fast track as you have the opportunity to start working with a company in your chosen field at the same time as working towards a qualification accredited by QQI.

Not only will you be paid a salary (set by your employer) but unlike many other programmes, you won’t pay course fees. This means that, not only will you earn while you learn, you won’t have the expense of paying for your tuition throughout the two-years of the programme.

In summary, you will be employed for at least 30 hours a week for a fixed-term of 24 months earning a salary while gaining an internationally recognised certificate or diploma which will give you the opportunity to progress your studies and career to the next level.

Who can apply for an IFS Apprenticeship?

Applicants must meet the minimum entry requirements to be eligible, these are outlined below:

  • Higher Certificate (IFS Associate)
    • Minimum entry requirements are a grade H7/O6 or above in five leaving certificate (or equivalent) subjects. A minimum of grade O6 must be obtained in English. A minimum of grade O6 or a B2 or above in Foundation level must be obtained in Mathematics.
    • Holders of a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Business (or equivalent) or QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Business (or equivalent) can apply for entry onto the programme. Non-standard applications will be also considered on an individual basis.
    • Applicants under 21 will be assessed based on Leaving Certificate or equivalent.
  • Higher Diploma (IFS Specialist)
    • Learners graduating with a 2.2 honours degree at level 8 in any discipline are eligible to apply for this programme. Non-standard applications will be also considered on an individual basis, subject to the completion and approval of a Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) application.

Applicants must be a minimum of 18 years of age before starting either of the above programmes. For applicants whose first language is not English, please note the English language entry requirements.

Participation in either programme is contingent upon the applicant being offered an apprenticeship role with an employer participating in the apprenticeship scheme.

What is the fee for these courses?

Students pay nothing! The academic programme is Government-funded.

How do I apply?

Applications are now open online. Visit the Higher Certificate in International Financial Services (Level 6) or the Higher Diploma in International Financial Services (Level 8) course pages on the NCI website and click the ‘Apply Now’ button to start your application. Applications will close at the end of March.

Once your application has been approved, employers will reach out to candidates from April to offer an interview. At interview stage, employers will speak to applicants about the roles available in the company.

Get an insight into the IFS Apprenticeships from current student, Thais Vargas. Read here.

What will I learn during this apprenticeship?

In short, a lot! 

Modules on the Higher Certificate include Financial Markets and Institutions, Data Competency, Customer Service and Engagement, Management in a Sustainable World and Contemporary Issues in IFS.

Modules on the Higher Diploma include ICT Skills, Risk and Compliance, Financial Data Analysis, Cybersecurity and Information Assurance, Machine Learning for Finance and Programming Fundamentals.

This class-based learning will be reinforced by on-the-job training, project work and support from your mentor.

How many days per week will I be on campus?

Apprentices will work four days a week with their host company with one day a week reserved for classroom study. The majority of classes will take place online with one day per semester assigned to on-campus teaching.

You can see the current IFS Apprenticeships Class Timetable to get an idea of what to expect. Please note these are for the 2023/2024 academic year and are subject to change for the upcoming intake.

What jobs can an IFS Apprentice apply for?

Companies who have hired IFS Apprentices previously include AIB, Amundi, Bank of Ireland, BNY Mellon, Fenergo, PTSB and State Street.

Roles IFS Associates have been placed in include Corporate Banking, Commercial Finance, Financial Crime, Asset Finance Fulfilment, Client Services, Credit Services and Finance Data Integrity and Control.

Roles IFS Specialists have been placed in include Data Management, Investment Specialist, Client Regulatory Reporting, Financial Reporting and Audit.

Applications for the IFS Apprenticeships are open! If you have any questions that are not answered above, please contact our Apprenticeship Co-ordinator, Darragh Brien, and he will be able to help.

Topics: Student Testimonial, Apprenticeships