The firm admitted 54 trainees to the scheme, close to total intake for the whole of last year, and will have a further two intakes this year, as it “focuses on increasing access to financial advice across the UK in response to growing demand”.
The number of training centres has been increased to three with courses available in Swindon, London and Newcastle.
The record intake includes 14 advisers studying for mortgage qualifications under MCOB and 40 training for pensions and investment qualifications under COB.
Openwork says its drive to increase the diversity of new recruits “is highlighted by the lower average ages and the numbers of female trainees signed up – 37% of the new trainees are women and the average age of MCOB trainees is 36 while the average age of COB recruits is 33”.
Last year saw a total of 57 recruits to the Openwork Academy with women making up just under a third (32%).
Recruits were split between 38 COB trainees and 19 MCOB trainees.
Claire Limon, director of learning and acquisition, said: “The record intake to the Openwork Academy underlines our commitment to increase access to advice so more people across the UK can receive the expert help they need to create and protect wealth for themselves and their families.
“The financial advice market is set for an exciting period of growth as demand increases and we are delighted to welcome the latest intake to the academy and to maintain momentum throughout the coming years with more trainees at our new training centres.
“Expanding the number of advisers in the UK is vital and it is also important to attract as diverse a training pool as possible.
“The academy welcomes people from all walks of life to pursue a career in financial advice and the latest intake shows that.”
The majority of graduates from the academy were career changers with experience across a range of sectors, including education, the armed forces, manufacturing and hospitality.
Openwork says it expects that around 150 trainees will join the academy this year.
Since its foundation in 2014, the Openwork Academy programme has trained and qualified more than 150 advisers.
Openwork Limited has over 3,900 financial advisers operating across the UK.
It operates as a directly authorised, multi-panel distribution network.