Catherine Raybould was one of the original graduates who took part in the first Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme. Here she reflects on her journey and discusses how the programme helped shape her current career.
I graduated from the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme in 2015 and am certain that the skills I gained along the way have helped me get to where I am in my career today.
I began my journey at Atradius and spent 12 months as an account manager where I strengthened my relationship developing skills through regular client/broker visits. I was offered a third placement there in the sales team which was very flattering and I’d have undoubtably enjoyed it but felt it was important to push myself outside of my comfort zone and develop my weaknesses. For me these were my analytical skills and thinking.
I left for a role in GMAC in the underwriting department, where I had to focus on analysing customers applications for car finance. This challenged my skills set but really enabled me to build on my weaknesses something I’ve always thought was important. The graduate programme was great in enabling me to learn on the job and have these opportunities to grow in all areas.
My final placement was at the Principality where I worked as a business analyst. It was this last role that I enjoyed the most as I was working with technology and teams made up of very different roles and people. I stayed at the Principality for almost 2.5 years having secured a permanent role at the end of my placement and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.
Now, another 2.5 years later I am working for a start-up company in Swansea. In the time I’ve been here I have worked my way up to a line manager position with 4 reports. I love the fast-paced environment and the fact that my role is continuously evolving.
The Graduate Programme Wales really set me up in terms of self-awareness, receiving constructive feedback from people with many years of experience and knowing how to harness my strengths whilst focusing on my areas of weakness. I still use the advice given to me by my peers, senior management teams and teachers today! It also built my resilience, completing a masters whilst working full time was tough but this helped me develop time management and prioritising skills which have helped me in every place of employment.
I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to be on the Graduate Programme and would advise any future candidates to do give their all in every placement they experience even if it’s not a role they would have originally chosen. You will learn a lot about yourself in relation to different team structures, workplace culture and management styles and find out what works for you. Learning what you don’t like is equally as important as learning what you do like.
I’d encourage those who are on the current intake to really focus on what they want out of a career and what their personal goals are because these will shape where you end up by the end of the programme.
If you’re looking for more information on being part of our Financial Services or Data Science Graduate Programmes, visit our website HERE