Charlotte Finney on her Apprenticeship experience
How does your apprenticeship link into your graduate scheme?
The apprenticeship forms a key quantity of my 20% allocation for professional development and learning. The apprenticeship to date, has allowed me to exhibit knowledge and understanding of key aspects of the profession. In effect, this has supported my Graduate Scheme as I can evidence the capability to navigate a constantly evolving environment driven by technology.
One significant benefit of being a graduate is the fresh and unique perspective you can bring to the business. However, a potential downside can often be a lack of experience within the business as a whole. When seeking roles, this can often seem a daunting factor. However, the apprenticeship has provided me with substantial grounding in key areas of the bank, i.e. Risk, Commercial Lending, Business Strategy and Ethics. I therefore feel confident that I can relate my learnings and theoretical knowledge to potential roles in the future, whilst evidencing investment into professional development, despite the possibility of not possessing practical experience.
Why did you choose to do this apprenticeship?
The apprenticeship forms part of my Community Banking Graduate Scheme with Lloyds Banking Group.
I chose to do the apprenticeship as it provides the opportunity to accumulate a breadth of understanding surrounding the banking sector, both in theory and practice. The apprenticeship really provokes you, as an apprentice, to delve deeper into attaining both detailed and critical knowledge on emergent trends, customer expectations, regulations, competitor actions and the overall stability of the system.
The apprenticeship also proves a key differentiator from competition when engaging with stakeholders and progressing a career within the financial industry.
How the Advanced Diploma journey lends itself in an apprenticeship bringing together the theory and practice?
The Advanced Diploma journey lends itself in a really effective way. When shaping key decisions and strategy, I find myself able to add significant value to my argument through the use of methodologies and theoretical research gained from studying. This is due to the Diploma provoking augmented strategic judgement, expertise and business acumen. I have found the Advanced Diploma to give me confidence in challenging incumbent mind-sets and really drive forward the skills necessary to thrive in a Digital Age.
What skills have you gained?
Whilst studying the Diploma, I have accumulated a breadth of transferable skills. Perhaps, the most pivotal skill is strategic judgment and decision making, which really proves fundamental in the rapidly evolving environment we find ourselves in today. This skill was strengthened as part of the Bank Strategy, Operations and Technology Module, which tested my aptitude to strategize based on environmental analysis, whilst also considering the strategic implications involved.
Building on this, I have strengthened Commercial Acumen, explicitly through reading and incorporating financial statements and understanding how actions and strategies impact upon profitability and cash flow. This has been further supplemented by the strengthening of core banking skills, namely Credit and Risk. Considering Risk in particular, the opportunity to conduct key readings and in-depth research has equipped me with knowledge on emerging risks, regulatory response and effective methods of risk mitigation, whether enterprise wide or holistic.
How has it helped your professional development?
The Advanced Diploma has supported my professional development on a comprehensive scale. Perhaps most importantly, the Chartered Banker status or MCBI, demonstrates to stakeholders, such as customers and colleagues, that I taken pride in devoting both time and energy to display the highest standards of professionalism and excellence. The status is also an excellent way of differentiating myself from competition, that haven’t made the same investment into a globally recognised qualification. In essence, the commitment shown to personal development with the diploma really does act as a stepping stone to augmented career opportunities.
The Advanced Diploma has further enticed me to drive innovation and deliver sustainable growth in the industry. To do this, I will be entering the 2020 ‘Young Banker of the Year’ competition, thus allowing me to develop revolutionary ideas in the banking industry, ensuring consistency with UN Principles for Responsible Banking. Relating to professional development, this will allow me to attain feedback from industry experts and raise my profile, both in Lloyds Banking Group and the wider industry.
The overall content of the Diploma is very fitting with the intermittently evolving environment we find ourselves in today. As an Emerging Leader, it’s vital that I can authenticate ability to ride the wave of digital disruption, and evidence capacity to shape external forces, in contrast to being shaped by them. The Advanced Diploma in Banking and Leadership in a Digital Age therefore plays a pivotal role in evidencing this!
How well supported did you feel?
Throughout the process, I felt really supported. Should I have any questions relating to the assignments, it was easy to navigate the ‘Ask the Expert’ feature. Here, I could post open discussions or chat directly with an expert. This was an excellent way of getting the answers to my queries, whilst also interacting with other learners.
For each of the four assignments, I was provided with a breadth of resources including: Study Guides, Online Knowledge Checks and recommended readings, ultimately supporting in giving theoretical intuition within my answers. Throughout the Diploma, I had complete confidence that the materials were adding significant value to my Learner Journey.As the qualification is so widely recognised, I found my Line Managers to be really engaged in supporting my journey and thus, advocated time to excel in each assignment