Behind the Scenes of DigiAdvance: Interview with Hilary Moran (The FinTech Corridor)

Welcome to our series of 1:1 interviews with the team behind DigiAdvance. Today we are lucky to be joined by Hilary Moran, CEO at The Fintech Corridor.

Hello Hilary, thank you for joining us today! FinTech Corridor (TFC) serves as a hub for FinTech companies and academic institutions along the Dublin to Belfast route. Could you share why TFC decided to participate in the DigiAdvance project and how it aligns with the cluster’s mission of promoting innovation and skills development in the FinTech sector? 

The Fintech Corridor, a cluster working with multiple fintech companies and academic institutions along the Dublin to Belfast corridor verified the need for required micro credentials, apprenticeships and professionals pursuing a fintech career – we are very aware there’s a gap between industry and academia and we want to find solutions. A small step was the formation of the corridor’s Fintech Academy, in which DCU play a significant role.  

Our desire is to help people to develop employment skills and to create equal opportunities. By taking an active role in the DigiAdvance project we are part of the solution. We believe in better learning, better working and providing high quality employer encounters, experiences and challenges. We can help upcoming talent stretch themselves through practical tasks and solve problematic learning situations, as well as refine the student’s way of thinking and develop the necessary competencies to help adapt to future requirements and the changing environment by creating an ecosystem for fintech skills, a talent pool from universities and an industry pool.

Thank you! As a partner in the DigiAdvance project, what specific role does FinTech Corridor play in addressing the skills gap within the FinTech industry, particularly in the context of promoting diversity and inclusion along the corridor?

Digital skills and diversity need to be a priority across fintech in order for the industry to change.    

Expanding the talent pool requires proactive engagement with schools, encouraging diverse career pathways, and establishing micro credential programmes for candidates with transferable skills. Whilst also spotlighting and supporting talent through the industry to foster diverse and inclusive environments. Senior leaders and public bodies play a significant role in keeping diversity on their agenda.

We need to keep up with the fast rate of technology and the pool of skilled workers, those with the ability to utilize these new technologies- is smaller than the demand for it. Employees need new digital skills to harness the latest wave of technological innovations and the Fintech Corridor is currently looking at ways to develop a Fintech Diversity Chapter within our academy, where fintech’s from various backgrounds, upcoming entrepreneurs, those who are looking to transition into fintech, and underrepresented groups will have a voice and an opportunity. The chapter will not be limited to fintech corridor members, all financial services and fintech related businesses will be encouraged to be involved.     

The diversity chapter will create a culture that not only encourages people to enter, but to thrive once contributing and sharing ideas, leading to potential job creation, collaboration opportunities and promoting the island of Ireland as a key d&i player within the sector.

The diversity chapter will re-shape the future of finance, and will create opportunities to build more inclusive and efficient fintech’s, promote economic growth and stand out in the competitive job market to attract the best talent to deliver success and value in fintech. 

I think that the introduction of micro-credentials can open many doors in various areas within fintech.
Hilary Moran
The FinTech Corridor

From FinTech Corridor’s perspective, what is the main objective of the DigiAdvance project, and how does it aim to contribute to the growth and competitiveness of FinTech SMEs in the region?

The growth journey of SMEs can take different pace and forms. SMEs, with different characteristics and across many sectors, can scale up at different stages of their cycle. DigiAdvance addresses the challenge of supporting SMEs to grow through specific aspects such as skills and capability development to help SME’s move from start-up to scale up.  

Given TFC’s focus on offering leadership training and workshops for SME business leaders, how does the organisation plan to leverage this expertise to support the development and delivery of digital upskilling initiatives under the DigiAdvance project?

By creating an ecosystem for fintechs on the island of Ireland, small and medium-sized businesses will have access to training and workshops, and importantly a forum to discuss significant challenges: a lack of digital skills among their owners, managers, and employees. To address this issue head-on, we continue to work hard with the DigiAdvance consortium to reach our goal and supply SMEs with the relevant skills to prosper in the current business environments. 

As part of the FinTech Academy (TFA), TFC collaborates with academic and business institutions to educate and encourage professionals transitioning into FinTech. How does the DigiAdvance project complement these efforts and contribute to the overall goal of developing a skilled workforce and fostering innovation within the FinTech sector along the corridor?

We recognise the maturation and opportunity fintech presents, the DigiAdvance project aims to strengthen SME growth through specific areas such as developing the skills to support SME and help address common challenges inhibiting economic opportunities and entrepreneurial development. To position SMEs to connect with opportunities, gain valuable skills, increase a higher level of talent and offer access to experts in the industry and tailored fintech credentials to acquire high end talent and create a programme of micro credentials specifically targeted to help SME’s grow.    

Within TFC’s Fintech Academy our mission is to attract the best candidates, upcoming students and those wishing to transition into fintech – companies that invest in talent are more attractive to talented candidates, we want to create a seamless process for our members; to find, hire, and create a talent pipeline so companies can attract and keep top talent. The DigiAdvance project provides the opportunity for upcoming students to add value to workforce development and innovation within the Fintech sector. 

How do you personally see the future of digital skills training developing in Europe, and how do you believe DigiAdvance can contribute to this vision? 

Most companies are eager to advance in the digital skills market, through training and development. Leaders are continually striving to upgrade upskilling and reskilling initiatives and bridge the digital skills gap. Rapid advances are changing the nature of jobs that need to be done and so roles will be transformed by technology over the next decade. DigiAdvance is aware firms can’t sit back while digital skills grow and this project is providing the opportunity for employers and employees to participate in upskilling and reskilling initiatives to ensure their expertise if up to date. 

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