Nearly a third of those that have joined the St James’s Place Academy in the past seven years have been women, with the age of graduates lower than the industry average.
Since 2012, when the academy was created, 32 per cent of successful candidates have been women and the average age of those completing the programme has been 34 years old.
The academy has just celebrated its 500th graduate since its inception in 2012, as the latest cohort to complete the in-house training programme saw 61 qualified advisers seeking a new career in financial planning and wealth management.
The past three decades have seen financial adviser numbers dwindle, in spite of the growing demand for face-to-face advice, resulting in a “substantial shortage of qualified professionals”, SJP said.
Shaun Godfrey, head of academy marketing and engagement at SJP, said: “Reaching 500 graduates is a significant milestone for the academy, and we are proud of the contribution they have all made to the financial advice industry over the years.
“Numbers entering our academy programmes continue to grow and as the requirement for sound financial advice increases, we can be confident of the long-lasting value brought to the financial services sector.”
He added: “The academy provides an important and innovative programme bridging the skills gap evident in the UK and continues to seek new talent to introduce to this highly skilled profession.”
The academy gives individuals the opportunity to undergo a training programme in one of SJP's four regional academy offices in London, Manchester, Solihull and Edinburgh, enabling them to change careers to become financial planners within the SJP partnership.
Past candidates have included a personal trainer, an ex-British Army officer, a Chamber of Commerce operations manager, an ex-professional golfer and a business development manager.