Cara Gilbert, from Ayrshire, has recently become the youngest person in the country to complete the Diploma in Financial Planning from the Personal Finance Society. This qualification was achieved while working full time at Standard Life’s Edinburgh head office for the past two years, and means she is now well on her way to her goal of becoming a Chartered Financial Planner.

Cara joined Standard Life through the Edinburgh Guarantee Scheme, which provides six month paid internships and which the company has been supporting for over five years. At the end of the internship, Cara succeeded in securing a contract as a trainee technical consultant. As with all the Company’s apprentices and trainees, she has been paid at least the Living Wage from day one at Standard Life. This is the case regardless of age.

Commenting, Cara Gilbert, who achieved the Diploma at the age of just 19, said: “I knew that I wanted to work in the financial sector when I was at school. I enjoyed maths, business management and accounting subjects. I heard that Standard Life was offering six month internships through the Edinburgh Guarantee Scheme for school leavers and I thought it was a brilliant opportunity to get a taster for what it was like working for a large, well known company. When I started studying for the exams I found out that if I could complete the Diploma before my 20th birthday then I could be the youngest person to qualify. It was a target that I set to challenge myself and I am very proud that I’ve managed to achieve.”

Cara works within the Standard Life’s Pension & Savings business, as part of the Technical Consulting team, which supports financial advisers around the country with often complex and highly technical tax and pension enquiries.

Keith Richards, Chief Executive of The Personal Finance Society, said: “Cara’s achievement is truly remarkable and I congratulate her on becoming part of Personal Finance Society history by becoming the youngest person to complete our Diploma in Financial Planning. She is clearly a bright, enthusiastic and passionate member of our profession, and a role model for young and aspiring financial advisers across the country. It is exciting to see young professionals like Cara progress through the personal finance sector, and her ambition to become a Chartered Financial Planner underlines her commitment to professional development.”

Sandy Begbie, Chief People Officer at Standard Life said: “Cara’s achievement is fantastic and testament to her hard work, dedication and personal drive. We are very proud, not only of her achievement, but that through our support for initiatives like the Edinburgh Guarantee Scheme and The Living Wage, we are able to help young people find the routes they need to cement their future career paths.”

Standard Life is committed to investing in the skills of the future, through a range of initiatives like its partnership with Career Ready, a charity that supports young people to fulfil their potential through mentoring and work experience. The Company is also fully signed up to The Living Wage, including for all trainees and apprentices, which it believes is fundamental to helping people plan and save for their future. In recent years Standard Life has increased the percentage of its people in the UK and Ireland who are aged 25 or under, from 0.5% in 2010 to 8% in 2016.