The voice of contact centres and financial services

Nicola Harris - from Intern to Senior Underwriter

Nicola Harris began her journey with Atradius as an intern in 2016. She had no intention on completing a sandwich placement but after hearing about the opportunity with Atradius, quickly changed her mind.

“I was in my second year at University of South Wales studying, Accounting and Finance, when I learned about the internships on offer at Atradius. The presenter, Ruby was on a placement at the time and spoke so passionately about the company that I had a complete change of heart and had to apply.

I’m so pleased that I did, as the experience it gave me was invaluable. I didn’t expect to be given so much responsibility from day one. I worked as an Assistant Administrator within the Senior Risk Management team, which deals with specialist cases and was made to feel like a long-term member of the team almost immediately. I co-chaired meetings, sat on different committees and was even involved in a visit to the company’s headquarters in Amsterdam.”

After her 12-month placement, Nicola returned to university for her final year. On graduating, she was invited back to Atradius for a coffee and a catch up, which resulted in her being offered a job on the spot as a Buyer Underwriter.

“I knew I wanted to work for Atradius after the experience I’d had there as an intern, so it was a real privilege to be offered a job straight away. I was welcomed to a new team, working across an engineering portfolio, which I found interesting. Within a year, I had achieved full authorities, which enabled me to take on additional responsibilities.

The company has been fantastic in giving me many opportunities to prove myself and continuously grow in my career. They invested in me from the beginning, even as an intern and it’s given me the confidence to progress and take on more responsibility,” Nicola explains.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Atradius adapted quickly allowing flexible working, something that’s been beneficial to Nicola.

“I’m originally from Devon and moved to Cardiff to study. When the pandemic hit, Atradius made the switch to remote working, and we adapted really well,” Nicola tells us.

“A hybrid approach to working has become the norm and I’ve been able to split my time between Devon and Cardiff which has been really nice as it allows me to see my family.

The IT team have been incredible in ensuring the business can fully function with a dispersed workforce while ensuring as a team we still catch up regularly via call, video and email.

The switch to working remotely has also changed the way we interact with our brokers and external contacts. In some ways, we work a lot more efficiently, rather than having to book out a full day to do a visit across the other side of the country we can have a one-to-one on MS Teams and get the same result. I don’t think video meetings will go anywhere in the long term, but it will be good to get back on the road when we can and do a mix of face to face meetings too.”

In May 2021, Nicola achieved a promotion to Senior Underwriter, despite taking on this new challenge remotely; her strong relationship with her colleagues has made transition a smooth one.

“I’ve been fortunate in my financial services career to work with an incredible team of people including strong, supportive women in senior roles who have guided me along the way. The culture at Atradius is so supportive, people build each other up and I’ve certainly felt this since my first day as an intern. The company has invested in me as an individual and I know I could pick up the phone to anyone in our UK or wider Global teams for support.”

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