The following was originally published on Trading Technologies Trade Talk blog. Bridging the Gap in Capital Markets: How Divento Academy Is Reaching New Talent By: Brian Mehta, CMO At Trading Technologies, we are always in support of bringing fresh new talent, whether trader or programmer, into the trading industry. For example, we’ve created the TT CampusConnect™ program, which helps students from over 80 universities across 11 countries gain first-hand experience with trading software. We also love seeing and supporting others who are creating their own initiatives. To that end, we’re very excited about Divento Academy, a new program that one of our clients, London-based Divento Financials, is spearheading. Divento Financials is a proprietary trading firm that was founded in 2008. The company has swiftly become a starting point for many traders. A few years ago, James Sullivan, founder and CEO, and Robert Russell, director and head of business development, identified that a huge gap in training and education was obstructing the flow of new talent into the industry. There were numerous courses available online selling the FX dream and lucrative careers, but many of these offerings were of no real substance. As a company, Divento wanted to remove traditional barriers in the market and find untapped talent—to take people without the traditional trading background or education and get them into financial services. To that end, James, Robert and their team decided to take on the initiative and bring their own courses to the public. And that is how Divento Academy was born. The Academy offers a Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Financial Trading. The course is regulated on both the UK/EU qualification frameworks, meaning it is fully accredited, and offers in five weeks the equivalent of a two-year degree. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a “cram session.” The Academy has three full-time trainers on staff, who have a combined 50 years of professional experience between them. The course is divided into three modules: Financial Markets & Operations Financial Asset Classes & Risk Financial Trading Techniques These modules are designed not solely to produce traders, but also to expose students to other potential financial services careers, such as risk management. We’re proud that they use our TT® platform as the software to power these courses and provide students with real-world software experience. “Using Trading Technologies’ tier-one trading software provided me with the opportunity to see what trading is really like, in real time, enabling me to enhance my ability to apply various technical trading strategies. This helped to bring everything together and provided me with a great advantage in my training,” says Sunna Firdaus, a recent Divento Academy student. Firdaus, who is pursuing a master’s degree in aerospace engineering with “first class honours,” is participating in Divento Academy as part of a pilot program with her school, Kingston University. Other Kingston students have also shared positive feedback about their experience with Divento Academy. “The road was tough, but the excitement each day brings, and being able to apply and use this knowledge with the help of the Trading Technologies trading platform, gave me the motivation to give it my all both inside and outside of the trading room, knowing all my decisions and plans were tested in real time by the market on a day-to-day basis,” says Daniel Bains, another recent Divento Academy student, who graduated with a bachelor of science in actuarial mathematics and statistics, with “upper second class honours.” The success of the Kingston University pilot program has confirmed Divento’s plan of replicating the program elsewhere, implementing their curriculum at other universities. However, Divento’s expansion plans do not stop at universities. The Academy recently connected with Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), not-for-profit organizations that provide homes for people in need of housing within the UK. By partnering together, Divento Academy and RSLs will be able to bring technical career training to a population that normally would not have access to it. By providing this hands-on experience to young people who are determining their career paths, whether through their universities or through their participation in RSLs, Divento seeks to help people who lack access to financial services training gain the skills they need to succeed. In some cases, the training that Divento provides doesn’t just prepare students for financial services careers—it changes their lives. Firdaus says, “I have found my time at Divento Financials one of the best experiences of my life. I have learnt so many skills that will not only benefit me in my career, but also in my everyday life. It has changed the way I perceive information and I have become more receptive to the slightest change. This has essentially moulded me into a better person.” For one of the participants who discovered Divento Academy via her RSL, the Divento curriculum helped change her life. Nadia O’Donnell-Pacha, now operations manager at PCS Credit Union, heard about the program from her RSL, and, at first, thought it sounded too good to be true. “I thought it was a scam,” she says, laughing. For a young single mom working in an administrative job, this kind of opportunity seemed unbelievable. Once she realized that it was a legitimate program, she submitted an application and was awarded a £5,000 scholarship to attend. “I was very surprised. People who come from social housing don’t usually get this kind of opportunity. This is an unusual opportunity,” O’Donnell-Pacha says. “I didn’t know anything about financial trading beforehand. I didn’t have any courses in it in school.” Immediately after completing the program, O’Donnell-Pacha was called for a job interview at a credit union. She was offered the role of office manager, but was quickly promoted to operations manager. Now, just a year later, she is in training to be the deputy CEO of the credit union. “Divento Academy helped me get my foot in the door,” she says. To date, 75 students have completed the program. After graduation, some students go on to work at Divento, where the company can back them financially, or they can back themselves. Regardless of where they choose to go, Divento Academy makes sure they leave with a support system and the resources they need to get a step up in the industry. The Academy has career guides, links to recruitment firms, apprenticeship programs and “employability” skill sessions to complement the modules. It’s already an impressive program, but Divento isn’t stopping now. Along with plans to create a mentor program, the goal is to expand beyond the UK and with current new ventures in the EU, perhaps even to the United States as well. When we started the TT CampusConnect program, we knew we couldn’t revolutionize capital markets education all on our own. We’re heartened to see the success of Divento Academy over just a few years, and we hope it will inspire other companies to create their own initiatives to train the next generation of financial markets professionals.