Philip Grant: Cutting the old school ties to banking

I joined Bank of Scotland fresh from school at just 17 years old, and I see it for the great opportunity it was.

Philip Grant says Lloyds is striving to reflect the diversity of the community that the bank serves. Picture: Greg Macvean
Philip Grant says Lloyds is striving to reflect the diversity of the community that the bank serves. Picture: Greg Macvean

So it fills me with great pride to know that the banking sector is still providing similarly life-changing opportunities to hundreds of young Scots every year, from all walks of life.

We’re welcoming apprentices into every part of our business, from operations to insurance, and we’re investing a great of deal of time and resources in their futures.

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Crucially, we are casting our net far and wide so that we can help to build a banking sector that better reflects the diversity of the communities that it serves. That means welcoming the best talent regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or age.

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Just like the wider industry, we’re making progress, both in our recruitment and in our top teams. In 2014, Lloyds Banking Group was the first FTSE 100 company to set a target of having 40 per cent of all our senior roles filled by women by 2020.

At the time, 28 per cent of the bank’s top 5,000 jobs were held by women. That has now grown to 32 per cent.

And we are focused on attracting talent from different backgrounds across our local communities and providing opportunities for people at all levels of the business.

In Scotland, it’s heartening to note that, of the 262 apprentice starters who joined us in 2016, 25 per cent came from disadvantaged backgrounds. This helped us win Large Employer of the Year at the 2016 Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

Apprenticeships aren’t just entry-level positions for school leavers any more, rather, they are opportunities for anyone with drive to learn, develop and continually build their skills and experience. The fact that 84 per cent of the apprentices that we have recruited over the years are still with us speaks volumes.

The banking world has moved on significantly since I started in my first branch in the village of Bridge of Weir all those years ago, but the training and support that banks provide today still arms our new starters with the skills to build broad and successful careers.

• Philip Grant is Scottish executive committee chair at Lloyds Banking Group