Your finance career case study: Nathanial Davis's journey into the world of finance
Financial Services I grew up in Woolwich where you can see the towers of Canary Wharf and the City of London every day. The world of finance becomes a backdrop for your life, whether or not you have the opportunities to work there one day.
My schooling was fairly normal, though I didn’t always apply myself properly and didn’t fall in with the best crowd. I thought that finance would be a good route to go, but I didn’t take the right courses at school and college, which felt like it limited my options and didn’t open any doors for me. By the end of college, I realised that I didn’t want to go to university and get into loads of debt. But I still had a dream to work in finance so started to look for another route in.
I found my route in through City Gateway, a London based charity who work with organisations across the financial sector to create Apprenticeships for young people who’ve grown up in the shadow of these institutions, but aren’t the graduates who are normally employed there.
With them, I completed a Finance course, which combined awards Business Finance and Retail Knowledge to gain an understanding of industry. I followed this up by doing an AAT Level 2, an industry recognised accounting qualification, to build up my CV and put myself in the best position to secure an Apprenticeship in a really competitive industry.
It’s was also critical to develop my interview skills to get my foot in the door and prove that I would be able to perform on an Apprenticeship. Getting interview coaching from people who understand recruitment was key. It gives you the chance to shape your answers to questions to show off what you can do and explain how your experience is relevant to the roles you are being offered.
I applied for a Business Administration Apprenticeship with The London Stock Exchange Group and was accepted into working within their Credit Control Team. Within my role I communicate with a wide range of customer daily, from senior management to finance teams, ensuring that proper accounting systems are adhered to and am combining this with continuing to study for a Diploma in Business Administration.
Doing an Apprenticeship gets you into a great routine, helping you make the transition into the world of finance a really positive one. The perception of Apprenticeships is also always improving and you are valued like every other member of staff, despite the fact you are still learning. You are given real responsibility and the opportunities for additional training are great.
The experience and training I have gained on my apprenticeship puts me in a great position to be able to continue studying for AAT level 3 and also secure a permanent role within the financial sector once my Apprenticeship contract ends. I have built up significant hands on knowledge of working within finance to stand out from other candidates.
I’d highly recommend an Apprenticeship as a way into finance. You are challenged intellectually every day; you learn new skills and get industry exposure that is hard to match elsewhere. The fact you also get paid and avoid debt is really helpful in being able to build a career, especially in London.