Open University has launched a course in financial technology, or “fintech”, aimed at educating top executives about the booming area and addressing concerns of a skill gap in U.K.
The term fintech already covers a broad area: from banking to retail and is already considered as jargon by many. Open University, one of the world’s largest distance learning institutions, has built the course to demystify fintech and allow participants to understand the technology disrupting traditional financial sectors.
Fintech 101 is a 50-hour course and was developed in conjunction with U.K. trade body Innovate Finance. It costs £695 ($1080) to do. Among the subjects covered are the blockchain, the technology that underlies the crypto currency bitcoin and cyber security.
“There is a whole new language emerging when we talk about fintech,” Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance, told CNBC in a phone interview.
“We felt that it was important to level set the landscape to explain what fintech is.”
Global investment in fintech ventures tripled to $12.21 billion in 2014, according to Accenture. The U.K. and Ireland account for 42 percent of the total European investment with London seen as the region’s fintech center.
Startups in the space have taken on traditional areas of finance such as money transfers or lending.
However, in the U.K. there is a genuine concern over not being able to fill the roles needed for the fintech sector to grow.
Wintermeyer said he is hoping the course can go some way to addressing this.
“Regardless of who you are in the community or whether you are a high school student or middle aged executive, this was designed as an entry point to give you an exposure to what fintech is,” the CEO told CNBC.
“This is an enabler to boosting the number of entrepreneurs.”
The fintech course comes after the U.K. government last year introduced coding lessons to the national curriculum for children as young as five. Other universities have also tapped into the growing interested in fintech. In 2013, the University of Nicosia in Cyprus began offering a degree in digital currencies and started accepting payments for the course in bitcoin.
Wintermeyer said he hopes that Fintech 101 will continue to develop and introduce new modules as the sector develops.
Image Credit: CC by Kevin Dooley