International fintech companies have partnered with Fife Council, Fife College, and Fintech Scotland, to launch Scotland’s first fintech skills academy. The consortium, which includes Renovite Technologies and Ingenico Group, officially launched the Fintech Skills Academy at the premises of Paywizard in Kirkcaldy.

“As Scotland’s Fintech sector grows so does the demand for people with the right skills,” said Jim Tomaney, chief operating officer at Renovite Technologies. “To avoid a skills gap, as we’ve seen happen in several other STEM industries, we’ve developed an innovative plan to pre-emptively plug it.

“The academy programme will help candidates successfully prepare for new roles while at the same time, help employers by improving candidate’s understanding of the standards fintech employers want. It’s a win-win scenario that we hope will be replicated nationwide.”

Matthew Jones, solution architect for Ingenico Group, added: “Ingenico Group are strong investors in the training and development of our teams, but for start-ups and smaller businesses, allocating resources to bridging the gap between what students learn in the classroom and what they need to know at work is something rarely affordable.

“Our aim is to help provide that extra bit of experience and training through the Fintech Skills Academy, so when this generation of workers retire, the next generation will be ready.”

The syllabus is aimed at both young people about to enter work for the first time and adults with a background in IT wishing to upskill or retrain specifically for employment in financial technology environments. Courses will be based on practical industry experience but taught in a structured learning framework, having been designed in a collaboration between Fife College and Fintech businesses.

Krystyna Marett, of Fife College, who is developing the course curricular, said: “We are launching the Fintech Academy with a Retail Card Business Course in January 2019 for IT professionals already working in the payments industry.”

Subject areas will range from specialisms such as payment processing to systems testing, device certification and business domain knowledge, amongst others. The courses at the Fintech Skills Academy will be funded by partaking businesses with the potential for further support where applicable.

Councillor Altany Craik, convenor of Fife Council’s Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning & Transportation Committee, said: “The academy will provide an opportunity for Fife residents to access skills and jobs in a dynamic and growing sector within our economy. Building on the success of the skills academy model in other key STEM industries, it will help to expand the fintech payments skills pool.

“I am delighted that the Opportunities Fife Partnership is working with Fintech Scotland and industry-leading, Fife-based companies such as Ingenico Group, Renovite Technologies and FIS Global to shape the content of the Fintech Skills Academy and offer opportunities to access their skills and experience.”

The FinTech Skills Academy launch is the first event in Fintech Scotland’s Fintech Fortnight which runs from September 13th – 27th.

Stephen Ingledew, chief executive of FinTech Scotland, said: “Developing people’s skills in an imperative for the future growth of the fintech sector in Scotland and the launch of the academy is a further indication that the community is turning its aspirations into tangible actions that will create great opportunities.

“It is very poignant that the Academy is being launched in Fife which has a deep heritage of innovation in financial services, especially in the category of payments, and I am delighted the initiative is being unveiled at the start of FinTech Fortnight.”