Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Denis Canty from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:

Denis Canty

Electronic Engineer


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Denis Canty
It is challenging. But if you adopt the right attitude straight away it can be a lot easier. I would advise anyone to be a hard worker and maintain a positive attitude. Also be organised, right down to keeping notes. You start your career in college, not after it.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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IFS Associate Professional (Generalist)
In Summary header image

IFS Associate Professional (Generalist)

This new apprenticeship programme has reached development stage as of May 2017.

Proposer /Provider: Financial Services Ireland (FSI) with coordinating provider National College of Ireland (NCI)

This apprenticeship programme is not yet fully approved. Additional information is constantly being added here, as it becomes available. Outline information correct - May 2017.

The IFS Apprenticeship programme is designed for candidates who are eager to launch their career within the financial services industry

This is a 2-year NFQ Level 6 Certificate apprenticeship with 80 places to potentially be available annually.

Video: International Financial Services Apprenticeships at NCI

Training header image

The IFS Associate Professional apprenticeship is two-years in duration. Entrants get a two-year fixed term contract in an IFS organisation in a relevant role. 

Apprentices spend 60% of their time working in the organisation and the remainder gaining specific IFS qualifications.

IFS Associate Professional apprentices will spend four days per week in their company and one day per week in NCI over the two-year period.

On successful completion, the International Financial Services Associate will have:

  • International Financial Services market - Core knowledge includes: Broad understanding of the structure of the International Financial Services market, including product providers, client outcomes, support services and platforms
  • Regulatory & compliance - Core knowledge includes: Understands the Financial Services regulatory framework, the ethics and key principles of the client transaction process
  • Products - Core knowledge includes: Understands the purpose & technical content of the financial services products & services provided
  • Systems & processes - Core knowledge includes: Understands all systems & processes required to deliver the role outcomes & has awareness of how these fit within the wider company and global industry
  • Numeracy, Analytical  and Awareness of Impact: Attention to detail and the ability to understand the impact of the role on the global picture
  • Quality service delivery: Consistently develops and delivers excellent service to clients, colleagues and advisers, supporting the products/services provided
  • Customer communication & relationships: Develops effective relationships with clients & key contacts, handling & resolving issues through effective verbal/written/IT skills
  • Teamwork and collaboration: Understands role within team and impact on others. Consistently endeavours to support colleagues and collaborate to achieve results
  • Planning & prioritising: Successfully analyses and plans in order to deliver good outcomes for the business
  • Using systems & processes: Consistently adheres to systems & processes using proficient IT skills, including risk, regulatory and governance requirements.


Apprentices graduate with a Higher Certificate in International Financial Services at Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).


Personal Qualities header image

The IFS Generalist apprenticeship is open to school leavers and further education students. A positive service disposition is required for this role.

  • Honesty and Integrity: Truthful, sincere in their actions and doing the right thing
  • Adaptability: Willingness to accept changing priorities and work patterns when new jobs need to be done, or requirements change Enthusiasm: Shows drive and energy in their work, when things are going well and when challenges arise
  • Dependability: Meets personal commitments and expectations, e.g. completing work in a timely fashion, timekeeping & attendance
  • Personal commitment: Proactive in their own development; commitment to the job and the industry.

Work Activities header image

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Understand and address client enquiries in a timely fashion
  • Handle telephone enquiries in a professional and courteous manner
  • Respond to the needs of Relationship Managers and Customer Service Officers in serving clients
  • Thoroughly document queries, investigations and actions
  • Escalate issues to administrators and managers as appropriate
  • Liaise with other areas of Operation within the company
  • Responsible for all aspects of operations and controls to include: Processing subscriptions, redemptions; Performing anti-money laundering checks
  • Investigate and reconcile all incoming payments received from paying agents and Tax Authorities within agreed timelines
  • Providing general office administrative support including filing/scanning/photocopying, post/franking, processing payments, answering the telephone, note/message taking
  • Maintain customer/policy records through the client management system and associated IT solutions
  • Support the team in delivering a full client service proposition in a professional, timely and efficient manner including new business, mid-term adjustments and renewals. Transact with internal and external stakeholders accordingly.
  • Communicate all information necessary to ensure clients are fully aware that their needs have been met and contract certainty achieved
  • Ensuring that all compliance procedures are adhered to on a day to day basis
  • Ensure client files are complete in accordance with procedures.

Pay & Fees header image

The IFS Associate Professional or Generalist apprenticeship is the entry level role. It is for school-leavers, those returning to work mid-career and want to change direction. You will study for a Higher Certificate in Business with a salary of €21K and get a two year fixed term contract in an IFS organisation in a relevant role.

Entry Requirements header image

The IFS Associate Professional apprenticeship is open to school leavers who have attained their Leaving Certificate results / VEC or PLC students (entry level role).

Minimum Academic Requirements

  • Grade D3 or above (Higher or Ordinary level) in five leaving certificate subjects.
  • A minimum of grade D3 (Higher or Ordinary level) must be obtained in English.
  • A minimum of grade D3 (Higher or Ordinary level) or a B2 or above in Foundation level must be obtained in Mathematics.
Holders of FETAC Level 5 or HETAC Level 6 Special Awards can apply for entry onto the programme. Entry will be assessed on the basis of result transcripts and a full programme outline.

Getting an Apprenticeship header image

How to apply

1. Complete the required application form and attach your CV by the closing date

2. Email directly to

Closing date for the latest round of applications for the IFS Apprenticeships is Sunday 2nd July 2017. Click here.

To find out more click here.

See also

Participating companies include:

Career Opportunities header image

What will an IFS Apprenticeship give you?

- A two year fixed term contract in an International Financial Services Organisation
- A paid apprenticeship while you work and study
- A recognised qualification in the National College of Ireland's state of the art campus in the IFSC

Typical job roles will include: 

  • Fund Accounting
  • Custody - Portfolio Administrator
  • Financial Reporting
  • Market Data
  • Transfer Agency 
  • Tax Administrations
  • Derivatives
  • Pricing and Reporting
  • Trustee Administrator
Progression is available to qualification at Level 7 and Level 8.

The IFS apprenticeship schemes deliver on skills identified in the Skills Needs Analysis of the International Financial Services Sector in Ireland, 2015 report by Summit Finuas Network, Partnered by Accenture and also delivers on elements of the IFS2020 Strategy.

Occupation Profile header image

Progression Routes header image

Occupation Data

Financial Analyst

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