At the beginning of the 2008-2009 School year, the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS) announced plans for a **Financial Services Certificate** Programme aimed at better preparing Grade 12 students for a career in the financial services sector.

Executive Director Kim W. Bodie says the overall objective of the Programme is to equip a pool of young high school graduates with knowledge and skills needed for entry-level positions in the financial services sector – including sub sectors such as banks, trusts, insurance, accounting and law. In addition to training students who show interest in a long-term career in the financial sector, the certificate programme also aims to stimulate students’ interest in the work environment. BIFS partnered with the financial services sector, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance to launch the programme. An integral part of the initiative is to guarantee gainful employment in the financial services industry for four (4) weeks during the summer.

Mrs. Bodie recently provided an update on the programme, advising that seventeen 12th grade students from both the private and government high schools are enrolled in the pilot programme. She says the basic concept of this initiative focuses on mentorship and career guidance, extending beyond classroom learning. *”The programme opens the minds of the students to the many perspectives in economics and business calculations, and they receive an introduction to financial institutions – and we also hope to familiarise these students with ethical issues as well.”* On the latter, legal and ethical management issues are included in the course work, with students meeting at BIFS twice weekly. She added that the idea for the certificate was conceived in conjunction with Eve Poitier, School of Business, College of The Bahamas, to address a perceived need for a structured mentorship programme within the banking sector – but has extended to other sub sectors as well.