The voice of contact centres and financial services

Industry Spotlight: Ian Praed

Newsletter Foreword from Ian Praed,
Chair of Strategic Advisory Board,
Welsh Contact Centre Forum Graduate Programmes and COO - Pepper Money

I recall writing a piece for the first Graduate Programme, Quarterly Newsletter back in June 2020 which referenced the extraordinary response of individuals and businesses to the COVID pandemic and the impact, and influence, that it had on our work, ways of working and organisational and operational designs.

I spoke about how, prior to the outbreak,  ‘many firms had previously encouraged home working as part of their employment brand – something that makes them more attractive to many potential hires.’ Notwithstanding that, at the same time, for some Financial Services firms the requirement to have colleagues in the office between x and y o’clock was still the accepted norm.

Back then we weren’t clear as to what the future of work would look like but opined that switched on employers would extend their pro-activity in ‘putting the welfare and protection of their colleagues at the forefront of their thinking and planning’ and that for the delegates on the scheme, Covid-19 will undoubtedly be looked back on as a pivotal event that changed the way in which work, works.

Hybrid working,  (a mix of days in the office alongside working from home) is increasingly the norm, with colleagues and teammates responding to the change in circumstances positively, constructively and effectively.

Firms still functioned, loans and invoices got completed, paid and collected, code was written, training was delivered and for the cohorts of Graduates on the programme the world of work is largely different to the way we worked prior to March 2020.

The contribution that delegates from the 3 programmes (Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme and Data Sciences & Artificial Intelligence Fast Track PGDip) make to their respective organisations and rotations, continues to be a win/win outcome.  Graduates get to develop their understanding of the world of work in a supportive, collaborative framework, developing skills that employers value.

For the businesses within the consortium, we get smart, inquisitive, keen and very able graduates to come in add to our activities designed to continually improve.  To make our businesses better.

It’s been a journey!

  • Since launching the pilot programme back in 2013, c. 300 graduates have been recruited via 8 programmes.
  • Over 20 companies including SME’s have participated in the programme, including some of South Wales largest and most recognisable firms alongside some niche, specialist start-ups.
  • 95% of said graduates have secured permanent roles, with many having been subsequently promoted through the years and now sitting in well paid Senior Management positions across the sector in Wales.
  • The programmes have been recognised for their positive approach to diversity and inclusion.
  • The Programme’s have won multiple industry award’s for their contribution to the Fintech and STEM sectors in Wales.

Changes to our funding model, post Brexit require us to reshape how we do, what we do, but we continue to face outwards with appreciation and confidence.

For everyone that has played a part, or been a part of that journey ‘thank you!’