Twenty years ago, university was the staple to a young person’s education and whilst some industries require a degree to break into, the financial services sector is not one.
I was eighteen in 2005, completing my A-Levels and working in a local pub when I applied for an apprenticeship at BNY Mellon. Like many, at the time I associated apprenticeships with the construction and manufacturing industries, but I was surprised to see the structured approach to learning and earning being available in financial services.
Excited and nervous about the journey ahead, I started my role in BNY Mellon’s Manchester office, getting to grips with the basics of investments. Being one of the first people through the doors in the new Manchester office was an extraordinary experience. I was offered ‘hands on’ training, not only to do my job as a Settlements Clerk better but to map my own understanding of financial services generally. Over the coming years, I was successful in a number of applications for promotions into more complex and senior roles, which offered me the opportunity to work in a number of operational teams across the business.
Twelve years on, I am now a Director, the Head of Global Cash Management and European Money Transfer, and my role has taken me to various locations in Europe, Asia and the US. I have also successfully completed a degree in Finance, which the company sponsored. The last decade in the financial services has been a huge challenge globally. We’ve had to get smarter, think differently and stay one step ahead of our competitors to offer our clients exceptional client service.
I manage 120 people over 4 locations across the world. My teams are motivated and hardworking, I encourage them to be ambitious and drive their careers, and I ensure they are offered the same support I was. Creating an environment where people matter enables them to succeed.
In 2016 I had the honour of being nominated for a Made in Manchester Award and, to my surprise, I won Banker of the Year - an overwhelming moment for me personally and professionally. I felt truly privileged.
Despite travelling around the world, Manchester is still my home. Outside my immediate role I want to invest time in young people to instil confidence within them to strive for success. I’ve worked on many community projects and invested time in the charity organisation, The Albert Kennedy Trust, which supports young LGBTQA individuals who are without a home. I am extremely proud to be part of something so valuable which will help people move forward. Life isn’t always easy, and I hope our work can encourage them to be the best they can be.
A determination to give young people the opportunities I have been lucky to have has stayed with me throughout my personal and professional life. For those of us on the career ladder, it is our responsibility to help future generations prepare to step on. I want to endorse apprenticeships in schools and colleges across the country, encouraging young people to look at alternative routes into their career and gain advanced skills employers need.