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Alex Taylor reflects on the value of Graduate Programme Wales

Alex Taylor joined the Financial Services Graduate Programme in 2021 having just graduated from Swansea University where he’d achieved a first-class degree in Economics. During the course, Alex had spent a year in industry, where he had experienced working in sales and credit control. He knew he wanted to pursue a career in financial services, but he wasn’t sure exactly what role or specialism was for him.

“What attracted me to the programme was the opportunity to experience a wide range of financial services roles which would help me work out what I wanted to do long term.

My first placement was in People Services at Hodge Bank. This was my first experience of the programme and in an area I had not considered. I got to take part in interesting projects such as an ESG sprint as well as helping update Hodge’s brand EVP. I enjoyed the role but didn’t feel it was a fit for me as a long term career.

The second rotation saw me take up a new role as a finance assistant in the cash and treasury team at Propel. I got to take part in the final stages of their first private securitisation resulting in me attending the Finance Awards Wales where Propel won finance project of the year. This was most certainly a highlight during my time at Propel.

During my second rotation Propel created a new role which I secured as a permanent position, so I joined Propel permanently from January 2023 as the new Accounts Assistant working in the morning for cash and treasury and then in the afternoon working for the accounting team. This gave me a unique involvement in all aspects of Propel’s cashflow which has been a real learning curve with lots of responsibilities.

Thinking about my future career goals, I’d like to achieve some form of financial qualification in the short term and in the long run move into a managerial role within financial services.

The programme is something I would recommend to anyone who isn’t entirely sure of what they want to do or if they are looking at boosting their work experience. It is a great way of learning multiple skills in the workplace as well as learn interpersonal skills, while essentially completing 3 8-month job interviews.

It is important the graduate programme continues as it is a way of attracting talented individuals to Wales while boosting the potential of the emerging workforce in the region. It has proved a huge success in helping graduates start and establish their careers across roles and companies they might not have considered before or might not have been able to get into yet.”

Thanks Alex, and best of luck for your future career.