Quotezone.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading financial comparison platforms, has announced the launch of a new fintech scholarship for higher education students in the UK, but, somewhat controversially, it is only open to students that are studying something other than finance or computer science.
The fintech firm’s contrarian approach to addressing the sector’s looming talent shortage has been hailed by politicians, academics and business leaders across the UK.
Lady Borwick, former Deputy Mayor of London and past member of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, said:
"It is vital that we do all we can to create jobs and opportunities for the next generation, investing in our young people in order to enable them to drive innovation forward.
"Whether it’s in banking, financial services, technology, media or the arts, finance and technology training is vital. That’s why this scholarship matters – because it gives young people the opportunity to explore these vital skills, which can in turn help them to take advantage of all the possibilities and career options that arise for them in the future."
Bill Grant MP, a current member of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, agreed, saying:
"In 2016 the Economic Secretary to the Treasury announced the appointment of FinTech envoys for Scotland to help grow the sector; whilst this growth has become a reality it appears it may have outstripped the supply of persons with the necessary digital skills. Thus, the announcement by Quotezone that it is to launch a fintech scholarship for undergraduate and postgraduate students in the UK is to be welcomed; indeed I hope it may prove to be of benefit to some of my Constituents."
Leading academics also recognised the new scholarship programme as an important way to foster greater diversity in fintech.
Daniel Broby, Course Director, MSc Fintech, Strathclyde Business School, said:
"Initiatives like this are exactly what the Fintech sector needs. The financial sector is being reinvented and we need bright students to think out of the box. In this respect, diversity of backgrounds is a proven recipe for success."
David Coker, a former investment banker and current finance lecturer at the University of Westminster, agreed:
“The list of contributions made to fintech by those with non-traditional backgrounds is extensive. It’s the main driver behind the disruptive nature of fintech. By encouraging students from non-traditional backgrounds to enter the field, Quotezone shows they ‘get it’.”
Chris Ivory, Professor of Technology and Organisation at Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Anglia Ruskin University, added:
"This scholarship underlines the increasing realisation that the future competitive advantage of digital technology lies with people not technology. Those industries, sectors and nations that prosper are those that fully recognise that the real value-added of technology lies in how it is integrated with new work, skills, roles and organisational forms".
Launched in 2005, Quotezone.co.uk has grown to become one of the UK’s leading financial comparison platforms, processing millions of car insurance comparisons each year.
Greg Wilson, the fintech entrepreneur behind Quotezone.co.uk, had this to say about the company’s new Fintech Scholarship:
"Talented graduates are the lifeblood of the fintech sector, but our industry faces a looming talent shortage in the not-too-distant future.
"As an established player in this sector, Quotezone.co.uk is keen to connect with students that may never have considered a career in fintech, and encourage them to explore how they can be part of this dynamic, fast-growing industry no matter what degree they’re currently working towards.
"While tech companies like ours obviously need computer scientists, and many financial services companies depend on finance graduates, the fintech sector also has a lot to gain from attracting a diversity of other skillsets to the industry, whether that’s law students, liberal arts majors, engineers, philosophy scholars or life scientists.
"In fact, although I’m the CEO of one of the UK’s leading financial comparison platforms I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering, which many of today’s university students might not view as a typical entry point to a successful career in fintech. That’s why our new scholarship programme is specifically designed for students that may never have considered a career in this sector."
Supporting Wilson’s assertion about a looming talent shortage, data from a wide range of research firms and government agencies, including the Department for Education, suggests the talent shortage is the single biggest concern for senior leaders in the financial services industry.
"The financial services industry has a lot to offer graduates,” Greg Wilson added. “But we need to demonstrate that our industry cares about these young professionals and is committed to advancing their careers, no matter which degree programme they complete."
The deadline to apply for Quotezone.co.uk’s Fintech Scholarship is Thursday 28th March 2019, and full details of how to apply are available here: https://www.quotezone.co.uk/fintech-scholarship.htm.