My apprentice experience: David Holbrook
Joining the Pension Administration team
When I left school, I wasn’t sure what job was best for me, but I did at least know I wanted something that offered clear career progression. I decided to look at apprenticeships as this promised to provide an opportunity to learn and gain experience whilst earning enough to pay my bills.
Before I started on this journey I had thought much of the training would be done in a college-type environment. However, once I started I was pleased to find that while some of the learning is separate, most of it is done in the office, alongside senior colleagues, which helps keep the work specific and relevant for the future.
I found out about Barnett Waddingham through a family friend. I visited the website and found a lot of really interesting content discussing everything from industry research to blogs from those already working in the business. I was impressed that the firm was very open in the way it shared information and excited by the idea of broadening my knowledge into a number of different areas.
My first week went really well. Everything felt very straightforward and it was fantastic to have the chance to learn how to do some tasks right from the get-go. It immediately made me feel like I was part of the team. I decided to attend the weekly board games social evening for a chance to meet and talk to more people from different parts of the office. It was a lot of fun – I’ve been going ever since!
The office environment was a new experience but starting a job on full-time hours was easier for me than some of the other apprentices as I had worked full-time before. The enrolment process was great because although there was a lot of information to take in, it was delivered in varying ways and in different formats, so it was easy to absorb and kept me engaged. As parts of the training were provided by various members of staff, I was able to get to know more people around the office.
I'm quite surprised at how useful some of the training and courses have also proven to be outside of work. I’ve recently been analysing and moderating the way I communicate with people and have seen a big difference in the response. Barnett Waddingham has helped me gain greater understanding into the way I think and how I can tailor my social skills.
I’ve been learning a lot from my apprenticeship ‘buddy’ – a more experienced colleague – about what questions I should be asking and how long I should spend trying to find the answer using the various resources available. When I first started they helped me settle in and were very hands-on with their support. I have a different learning style from my buddy (I tend to understand things better if I know why we do them), but this support has helped me gain confidence in knowing when to ask for something to be explained in more detail.
"It often feels like Barnett Waddingham is helping to develop me as a person and not just an employee."
I’ve really enjoyed the social side of the business. The apprentices have a lunch every so often so we can talk outside of work and we’re planning on going bowling soon as a team. Meanwhile, the pub quiz was great for meeting colleagues I otherwise wouldn’t have much chance to chat with – and we got plenty of free pizza as an added bonus! I’m now comfortable at work knowing there is no shortage of people ready and willing to support me if I need them.
I’m already learning a wealth of skills on the job that I’m sure will stand me in good stead when I’ve finished my apprenticeship, from picking up the knowledge required to work within pensions to collaborating with people who have different personalities and abilities. It often feels like Barnett Waddingham is helping to develop me as a person and not just an employee.
As I progress, I plan to learn more about work management and organisation, making more use of the systems the firm has in place that help manage daily tasks. I imagine as my career continues and my tasks become more complex and varied, keeping on top of things will become more demanding, but with the skills and technology available at Barnett Waddingham, I’m confident I’ll rise to the challenge.