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Morgan Stanley’s apprentices bring diversity and energy to the finance sector

#ScotAppWeek24 Apprenticeships

After more than 20 years of supporting apprentices in Scotland, Morgan Stanley can see its success stories sitting in offices across the world.

The company began employing apprentices in 2002. Seven of the young people who joined back in 2002-2004 are still with the company and former apprentices have reached the level of Vice President and Executive Director. Some have gone on to develop their careers in London, New York, Paris and Hong Kong.

Other parts of Morgan Stanley are keen to follow the Scottish example. The company’s International headquarters in London now has several apprenticeship programmes and Scottish managers have advised on how to start similar schemes in the US and Canada.

In the 24 years since the global financial services company opened in Glasgow, the firm has grown from six people to more than 2,200 staff across 10 divisions.

Morgan Stanley

Currently, there are 59 Graduate Apprentices and three Modern Apprentices at different stages of their apprenticeship journeys, working across the Finance, Operations, Technology and Fund Services divisions.

They study across Glasgow, Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian Universities, with qualifications going up to Masters degree level.                            

Human resources Executive Director Margaret Johnson said: “The apprenticeship route has been key to us developing a strong pipeline of successful and talented employees. They gain an in-depth knowledge of their division during their apprenticeship.

“The option for young people to earn while learning through apprenticeships has helped us to widen the talent pool and increase the socio-economic, gender and ethnic diversity of our office.”

This is an ongoing process as Morgan Stanley works hard to attract fresh talent and young people from underrepresented backgrounds to careers in finance.                                        

Half of Morgan Stanley’s apprentices are women, including in technology - an industry which is typically considered to be a more male-dominated field. These apprentices go on to become STEM ambassadors, visiting schools and recruitment events to encourage other young women to consider a career in the finance sector.                                  

Around a third of the Morgan Stanley apprentices identify as coming from low socio-economic backgrounds. This helps to make the company a more diverse and inclusive place to work.

Morgan Stanley then encourages its apprentices to go back to their old schools to educate other pupils about the great opportunities an apprenticeship offers.

Margaret explained: “Our apprentices are positive ambassadors, and role models especially at schools they attended.

“Their outreach work encourages students to consider a career in Financial Services, which is often not considered by students from lower income households. The opportunity to mitigate the costs of attending university by earning while learning is a key consideration.

“Our apprenticeships open up access to a career in financial services where the cost of university may have removed that as an option.”

Morgan Stanley also helps young people with the costs of starting out by offering support with travel and relocation costs.

It’s this commitment to bringing on a wide range of apprentices and supporting them as they develop their full potential that has put Morgan Stanley on the shortlist for Large Employer of the Year at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, sponsored by Anderson Strathern.                            

In return, the apprentices bring a freshness and energy to the office and impress their colleagues with their enthusiasm.

Margaret stressed: “Our apprentices are always keen to learn new skills and develop new ideas, something they continue to do as they progress through their careers.

“As they develop an in-depth knowledge, they become key to improving processes in their team. As they grow in confidence, they become great ambassadors inspiring the next generation of school pupils by sharing their career journeys with them.”

Find out more

The winners of the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards will be revealed during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which takes place from 4 to 8 March.

Go to the awards website