Apprenticeships at Barnett Waddingham: what to expect

Since launching our first apprenticeship scheme in 2018, we have expanded our number of placements, with opportunities now available at most of our offices around the country.

Many people ask us what a Barnett Waddingham apprenticeship is like. Is it difficult? How much do I need to know before you start? Are you the right fit for us? And, indeed, is Barnett Waddingham the right fit for you?

Rather than hear from us, one of our recent apprentices, Zach Jewkes, was keen to share his experience…

Zach’s story

I really didn’t enjoy college. After doing very well in my GCSEs, I was naïve in thinking that my A-Level experience would simply follow suit. I was wrong. Applying to university was thrust upon me but I knew I couldn’t really face any more basic education. I enjoyed English and Maths as subjects, and I knew that I wanted to experience actually using them in the real world. The question was, how?

I began scouring through apprenticeships but nothing jumped out at me. Whether it was the location or the role, nothing seemed appealing. Then I stumbled across Barnett Waddingham. I admit, I hadn’t really heard of them and had very little knowledge of pensions, but I decided to cut my losses and give them a shot.

Upon doing some deeper research, I was extremely impressed to read the glowing reviews on Glassdoor from current employees and how the firm has managed to grow so substantially despite being younger than its competitors. I began to suspect I had stumbled on a real opportunity…

"The application experience ran incredibly smoothly and interviews were conducted by a group of team leaders. They encouraged candidates to get to know each other and to work together on a small team-building task to see how well we collaborate."

We were then taken for individual interviews where we were asked about our interview preparation and about our personal perspectives, which helped me to feel comfortable and confident that I was among the right people. 

After undertaking the application and interview process I was absolutely set on working for Barnett Waddingham. A nervous week followed while I waited for a response. Then, finally, the call came – and I was delighted to accept the offer!

I remember my first day being nerve-racking. After all, I was now entering the ‘real world’. But it didn’t take long for my butterflies to settle thanks to my new colleagues, who weren’t hesitant to spark conversation and always seemed eager to answer any questions I had about the work or the office. They were obviously aware that almost everything was foreign to me and were extremely patient with me as I began to (slowly) pick things up. 

The first few days consisted of a lot of training. I was thrown in at the deep end yet there was always more than enough support to ensure I never felt overwhelmed. I and the other apprentices had training from various members of staff on their specific business areas, ensuring we were provided plenty of information on the wider business while also being given the opportunity to engage with colleagues outside of our own teams.

"It was clear that the company was keen to give us as much support and training as we needed to get stuck in. We were each paired with a more seasoned member of staff who acted much like a mentor and would be there for us if we had any questions or concerns."

We were also sent to training sessions, both at our home office and at our London office. This proved extremely beneficial because it allowed us to meet up with the other Barnett Waddingham apprentices from across all the offices nationwide. It was a great reminder that we weren’t on this journey alone.

Over this past year I have been exposed to so much new information and experience, bouncing between teams who help to familiarise me with things I would often hear about but never get to personally work on. When I was starting out, I would be doing relatively basic tasks like scanning post, and I would come across much of the work being done by others. Since then it has become incredibly fulfilling to see my name signed on some of these letters, knowing I am taking a direct role in helping people with their finances and retirement plans.

Outside of the work itself, the firm has been extremely good in regards to its commitment to corporate social responsibility. In February 2019, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. When you’re hit with something like that, you start to assume the worst. But my fears were unfounded. Everyone at the organisation showed huge empathy for my situation. Not only were they determined to ensure my wellbeing but they played a huge role in the fundraising I organised later in the year. They happily matched the contributions I raised to undertake a 10km sponsored walk and, as soon as I was diagnosed, made an immediate donation to the MS Society.

An apprenticeship with Barnett Waddingham isn’t just a stepping stone into a career – it’s an opportunity to join a large team of people who will embrace your talents and input, support your needs as an individual and help you to excel at whatever you put your mind to.

Interested in applying? Find out more about our latest opportunities.