My apprentice experience: Paulo Neto
Joining the Pension Administration team
Growing up, I never had a clear idea of the career I should choose. It was only when I moved to the UK from Portugal that I realised an apprenticeship could well be the best route to take – studying toward a qualification while working and being paid – though in what trade exactly, I still wasn’t immediately sure…
I was in college doing my BTEC Business Level 3 when I decided being an accountant was something I would probably enjoy. I decided to start looking and applied for accounting apprenticeships. It was a tough process. After a while of not being able to get a foot in the door, I decided to expand my search to other financial services apprenticeships. I eventually saw Barnett Waddingham’s pension administration apprenticeship programme on the Government website. My first impression was, what’s pension administration? It then took me almost three days to learn how to pronounce Barnett Waddingham! Even though I wasn’t completely sure what I was getting into, I loved the job description and felt I had the skills to fulfil the role they described, so I decided to apply.
I really enjoyed the enrolment process. Once I submitted the application form I was shortlisted for a telephone interview, which went very smoothly and the assessor was really friendly. After I was invited in for a face-to-face interview, I knew Barnett Waddingham was the business I wanted to work for. Everyone made sure I felt at home, even though I hadn’t yet been hired. It was a fantastic experience.
"The amount of knowledge and skills I’ve already gained here have surprised me. I’ll carry those with me for life."
I’m not ashamed to admit my first day was tough. Everything was new to me and my fear of the unknown had me feeling panicked. My second day was just as hard. I felt like giving up. But on my third day, I started to understand how things worked and it started getting easier. By the end of the week, I was in love with Barnett Waddingham.
Being partnered with an apprenticeship ‘buddy’ has been very useful because I can open up and get my questions answered. The social experience has also been outstanding. I have a genuinely good relationship with my fellow apprentices and colleagues. Everyone is kind and respectful – there’s nothing I can complain about.
There are so many skills I hope to develop during my apprenticeship and being a good and effective administrator is just one of them. My aim is to do all I can to contribute to the success of the firm and to keep improving myself with each day, growing within the company. Even so, the amount of knowledge and skills I’ve already gained here have surprised me. I’ll carry those with me for life.