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Business not quite as usual at Atradius
Nine months into the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme, working for global trade credit insurer Atradius, 23-year-old business mangement graduate Josh Hodgkinson was feeling good about life and comfortable in his new employment routine
Travelling each day to Atradius’ waterfront offices in Cardiff Bay, ready to learn more about the world of financial services, and enjoy being part of the Atradius team. But Josh’s experience as a FSGP intern took an unexpected turn and soon became a learning curve quite different from anything encounterd by interns at Atradius before. Enter lockdown.
Since the end of March, Josh’s office desk has been swapped for a desk in his bedroom at his parents’ home in the Cardiff suburbs. Initially he wondered if he’d still feel part of the team he’d worked so hard to join and if his placement would continue. However, with a few adjustments, Josh’s experience exceeded his expectations.
“As soon as it was clear lockdown was coming, we were all sent home”, explained Josh. “I didn’t have my own computer but Atradius delivered my laptop and everything I needed which was great. At first, I found it difficult and there was a lot of admin to do as we prepared for what was soon to be normality but then the work quickly became more fruitful and I adjusted to the new way of working.”
Since being home, Atradius has endeavoured to create a virtual community for its staff including online training, video calls and regular communication.
“I have daily calls with the team and individually with my manager”, Josh continued. “We have regular calls with other departments, colleagues will often call for a chat and on Fridays we all call in for a quiz. They are always checking up on our wellbeing and encouraging us to take a day off if we need to and to take regular breaks. From a logistics point of view, the IT team has also been quick to resolve any issues very quickly and efficiently, which is great as that could have been frustrating to deal with. It’s been a smooth ride thanks to Atradius.”
With a degree in business management, Josh joined the graduate programme in September 2019 and was allocated his first placement with Atradius, a major financial services player with its headquarters in South Wales. After working with the commercial SME team for six months, Josh was offered the chance to stay for a second placement.
He said: “When I joined Atradius I spent time with every department, giving me a chance to understand what types of roles the different departments did and get a good picture of the business as a whole. For my placemnet with the SME team and started out doing a lot of internal administration tasks. As I gained more experience and confidence, my responsbilities grew; I now help look after customers and am building new relationships with both customers and brokers. I really enjoy it. I was hoping to have a chance to stay with Atradius for a second placemnet and I’m pleased I did. I was also keen to stay in the SME team as I felt I’d come so far already and wanted to keep progressing.
“I feel that I have benefited greatly from the Graduate Programme. It seems as if everyone has a degree these days so I felt the Masters would give me an extra push forward in my career. And, it’s a totally different experience, I get to learn practical business skills in the workplace alongisde day-to-day decision making which you can’t learn at university alone. It’s a great balance between the academic study and hands on workplace skills and I believe it will really help anyone who’s thinking of joining a post-grad scheme to blossom in the real world.”
Alongside his placement, Josh has been attending the university campus once a fortnight to study but this is now also done virtually.
“I do miss doing the one-to-ones in person but it is working”, he said. “I’ve not only had online training from Atradius but also on the accredited learning platforms from the WCCF too. Before, I didn’t like working from home as I like being social but if anything I now feel more motivated than ever.”
About Atradius Atradius is a global provider of credit insurance, surety and collection services, with a strategic presence in over 50 countries. The credit insurance, bond and collection products offered by Atradius protect companies around the world against the default risks associated with selling goods and services on credit. Atradius is a member of Grupo Catalana Occidente (GCO.MC), one of the largest insurers in Spain and one of the largest credit insurers in the world. You can find more information online at https://atradius.co.uk