Hodge has been a key member of the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Scheme for many years and has once again welcomed a group eager recent graduates into the business. But what inspires these young people to take part the scheme and what advice do they have for anyone hoping to do the same? Here are the grads themselves to explain what it takes to get your foot in the financial services’ door.
What inspired you to apply for the grad scheme?
“I knew I wanted to work within financial services but wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do,’ says Alex Taylor. “So, I thought the graduate scheme was the perfect opportunity to experience financial services and learn more about what I might want to do as a career.”
It’s a similar story for Amelia Moore, who says: “After graduating from Cardiff in Economics and Management, I was still very unsure on what I wanted to do in my career, as it can be very overwhelming. However, I did know that I wanted to put the theory I learnt at University into practice.
“When I heard about the graduate scheme from a friend, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to be able to try out different roles in the financial services industry and experience different cultures between companies. As well as this I can use everything I learn in my placements for my Masters’ work and vice versa.”
The funding opportunities and chance to gain another qualification were a motivator for Connor Csaszar: “I first heard about the scheme from a careers advisor in university. This scheme gives me the opportunity to work in three different financial organisations as well as gaining a fully-funded masters. It’s a win-win for me.
“I can experience different working environments and study at the same time. It’s helping me understand what kind of roles I want to chase once I leave the programme.”
Amy Roblin had similar motivations, with the chance to gain that Masters’ qualification a driving force, noting: “Coming from a degree in mathematics I was unsure what I’d enjoy most in the financial services industry. This scheme allowed me to explore the different sectors while, furthering my education to Masters level.
Why choose Hodge?
With a whole host of well-known and well-established financial services companies signed up to the Financial Services Graduate Scheme, the grads have a wide range of opportunities available to them. Alex explains what made Hodge stand out to him: “I’ve always been interested in banks and banking as both my parents worked for them during their careers. I thought a bank like Hodge would be the perfect place to start my time on the grad scheme.”
For Amy it was as much about its purpose as its propositions: “Hodge stood out to me as it’s known for its Foundation and working culture. It’s also been a very exciting time to join Hodge as it's in the process of expanding. This has allowed me to learn first-hand how new projects develop and is an experience I don’t think I would have had elsewhere.”
While Amelia and Connor have found themselves feeling like part of the furniture already, Amelia says: “Hodge stands out for me as everyone is friendly and always willing to help. The work culture is relaxed but I still get pushed out of my comfort zone all the time, which I love.”
And Connor added: “I feel like I’m more part of a community than an employee at a bank. All the work I do is valued and making a difference.”
Advice for those considering the Financial Services Graduate Scheme
With Hodge highlights including presenting to the Board (Amelia), delivering well-received reports to senior leadership (Connor) and working with a range of teams and seeing the diverse roles on offer in financial services (Amy and Alex) what more do graduates need to know about the scheme?
Amelia: “Definitely go for it! There are so many placements available, and you don’t necessarily have to need to have to finance background. It can be hard writing essays around a full-time job but there is so much support available, both from Hodge, the University and Welsh Contact Centre Forum.”
Alex: “It’s definitely worth doing. You get to meet so many people whose experience you can learn from while growing your network for the future.”
Amy: “My advice would be to keep an open mind and try as many opportunities as you can so you can really make the most of this experience.”
Connor: “Ask yourself how you can make yourself stand out, and what you can bring to the scheme. One of the easiest ways is by setting up a profile on LinkedIn. Particularly if you’re looking for a business role, LinkedIn is important and building your brand of who you are can mean the difference of making it to interview.
“Develop your brand, network with people, share posts about things you’re passionate about. You’ll be surprised at just how many employers look at LinkedIn when considering applicants.”