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Here you’ll find the latest events and happenings from contact centres in Wales, as well as food for thought from the people who know the industry best.

April Lester on how the programme fast tracked her career

April joined the Graduate Programme Wales in the 2015 – 2017 Financial Services cohort. She had graduated about a year previously and was working as a paralegal. She didn’t think the career prospects were great in law. She had seen others around her complete their additional legal qualification and they were still in entry level jobs. She saw the Graduate Programme advertised and there was a focus on getting people from more deprived areas to apply, April grew up in Blaenau Gwent – one of the most deprived areas in Wales. She applied because she was interested in the rotations within different organisations, different types of roles and that she would be able to study for a master’s degree. She thought it would be very competitive and didn’t think too much about it. April was selected for interview and went through the process and secured a place on the programme.

Her first placement was at Optimum Credit (now Pepper Money), and she learnt so much about financial services, the roles within in it and how the industry operated. Her second placement was at Atradius and was in Human Resources. April felt that she had found her niche, she had always been interested in Human Resources but it is a difficult area to get into without experience. Following the graduate programme April secured a permanent role with Atradius in Human Resources and they supported her to complete her Human Resources qualifications whilst on the job. She has now been at Atradius for over five years and is a Senior Human Resources Business Partner.

The Graduate Programme has given me so much, I have a group of very close friends who I met on the programme and a wide network within financial services across South Wales. I had the opportunity to do rewarding work in areas that I was interested in and try lots of different things. I travelled to several Atradius offices in Madrid, Amsterdam and Dublin which gave me exposure to lots of different roles, locations and cultures. Sometimes entry level roles are quite boring and repetitive but that was not my experience through the Graduate Programme.

The Graduate Programme has completely changed my career. I wouldn’t be in financial services and have stayed here for the last five years. I managed to get to know the company and study for my Human Resources qualifications whilst doing the job. Human Resources is a difficult area to get into without previous experience and think my career path has been sped up by being on the graduate programme. I had an interest in Human Resources and the Graduate Programme gave me the opportunity to try it and I found out that this was what I wanted to do with my career.

I am planning on staying in the Cardiff area and staying with Atradius. I honestly love working for Atradius and seeing myself staying with them. Without the programme it is very unlikely that I would have even applied to Atradius, I didn’t know anything about financial services and hadn’t heard of Atradius.

The programme is brilliant it has had such an impact on my life, and it has had a positive impact on lots of other graduates lives as well.”