Since joining the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme, Joseph Davies has secured a permanent job with Principality Building Society as a Financial Crime Associate. He shares his journey on the programme and gives us an insight into his new role.
After graduating I wasn’t sure whether to progress my education or to start my career. I stumbled upon the Graduate Programme and thought it was the perfect fit, allowing me to achieve both of these goals. Having completed an integrated placement during my undergraduate studies, it was also something that I was accustomed to.
I wasn’t sure what sector I wanted to work in and never really felt that financial services was an option for me. I had always been interested in data so I initially applied for the Data Science Graduate Programme. However, as I progressed through the recruitment process, I realised that the Financial Services Programme was better suited to both my degree and my skillset. Thankfully a space opened up on the scheme.
Tell us about your journey on the Programme…
I started the programme at Monmouthshire Building Society in their Continuous Improvement department. This role allowed me to gain a broad understanding of how financial services organisations operate. I then moved to DS Smith in their Finance team, however half way through the placement the organisation left the scheme, so I moved to the Principality Building Society, working in their strategy and research team. This position provided me with an overview of the financial services industry as a whole which put me in good stead for my next placement at the Principality within the Business Readiness team, their HTP Mortgages project.
I stayed with this team for my last year on the programme and it was extremely exciting to play a part in such a large scale digital transformation, seeing the project go live with Pilot phase towards the end of my placement.
When I joined the Society, I was instantly made to feel a part of the organisation. It’s a great place to work, everyone is friendly and will help you whenever you need it. The organisation really does look after its people. I was so fascinated by the culture here that I based my research project for the MSc on the culture of PBS.
A significant highlight of the programme was seeing the HTP Mortgages project at Principality go live. It was a fantastic to have played a part in the huge transformation and seeing some of my work being implemented. It’s definitely something I won’t forget.
Congratulations on your new role, tell us a bit more about it…
Thank you! I’m now a Financial Crime Associate. We are responsible for conducting ongoing investigations as well as the ad hoc monitoring of customers and other parties to prevent any financial crime such as fraud.
How have you found working during the pandemic?
It was difficult at first, considering that I was in a role that requires a large amount of contact with stakeholders. I had also built a good relationship with my colleagues which is something I missed. However, as the weeks passed, I became accustomed to the new way of working. One thing that made a big difference is that we held a weekly coffee chat, so our the team had some form of socialising together.
What are your goals for the future?
My short/medium term goals are to focus on my current role and develop my skills so that I can progress further within the team. I’m unsure of my longer-term goals as of yet, but what I do know is that I love working at Principality and I wish to stay here for as long as possible.
Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking of applying for the Programme?
Do it! People often have a misconception that it’s all about finance, when in fact the financial services sector has an array of opportunities to pursue. Don’t worry about your background as you will have a lot of transferrable skills from your undergraduate degree, and don’t worry if you’re not sure as to what career you wish to pursue as the rotations on the programme will help you discover what you like and don’t like!
We spoke to Rosemary Eaton (MSc FSM Course Leader), who said:
“From an academic perspective, Joe has excelled from the outset. He has achieved a distinction grade in every piece of assessed work and is on target to have an overall mark for the masters of over 80%, something which nobody else has achieved to date. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Joe and to see him grow in confidence over his two years on the programme.
On behalf of all the MSc FSM team at USW, I would like to wish Joe all the best for what I am sure will be a very bright future. I look forward to welcoming him back as a guest speaker.”
Mike Daniels, Senior Lecturer added:
“Joe has always set himself stretch targets in his academic work, he has always looked for feedback and constantly sought advice and guidance in order to improve his performance.
He has truly got to grips with how work can help the academic element and how the university aspects can likewise link with the workplace.
Joe has grasped each element with equal relish. He has been a pleasure to work with and is a tremendous role model for the grads who are still on the scheme.”
Wow! What an amazing journey Joe has been on. His hard work and commitment are commendable and have both paid off. We wish him the best of luck with his new role and future career.