Low awareness of fintech opportunities 'forces many students overseas' says survey

This year’s fintech scholarship winner Syed Muhammad Abid Raza from Ulster University
This year’s fintech scholarship winner Syed Muhammad Abid Raza from Ulster University

HALF of students are under the impression there is a lack of career prospects in Northern Ireland - and as a result many are missing out on high paid opportunities.

And a survey by fintech business found that, as a result of that mistaken believe, many are driven to study overseas.

Government data shows that in 2020/21, the total number of Northern Ireland-domiciled students enrolled on higher education courses in Britain and the Republic rose by 4 per cent from the previous year to 77,465.

Four in five respondents said they had never considered a career in the fintech sector, despite it contributing £392 million to the north's economy, with the potential to create thousands of jobs and generate over £25 million in foreign direct investment for Northern Ireland in a matter of years.’s annual fintech scholarship project, now in its third year, aims to encourage students to explore what the sector locally has to offer, plus support the winner with an £1000 bursary towards their studies - adding work experience to the project this year to offer first hand insight to the industry.

Ian Wilson, managing director at, said: “Fintech in Northern Ireland is accelerating at a rapid pace and offers great prospects for graduates from all industry backgrounds, with high starting salaries and strong long-term career prospects.

“I’m concerned that 80 per cent of students haven’t even considered our thriving industry as a possible career and I hope our fintech scholarship has gone some way to encourage students to see the diverse potential in this sector.”

This year’s scholarship winner was Syed Muhammad Abid Raza from Ulster University, who wrote an insightful blog on how fintech is revolutionising financial services.

Dr Jason Broom, lecturer in international management on behalf of the MSc International Business team at UU, said: “We are very proud of Abid’s achievement in winning the fintech scholarship project.

“He is a very hard-working, motivated, proactive, and enthusiastic student who we know will succeed and thrive in the workplace.

“From his arrival, he has embraced all that Northern Ireland has to offer, both academically and culturally and has been keen to develop a deeper knowledge of the business landscape.

“In addition, he has been an excellent spokesperson for all international students on the Magee campus, enthusing his peers and actively seeking and suggesting opportunities for personal and career enhancement.”