Chloe Davis says that no two days are ever the same and as an Insurance Practitioner Apprentice, she loves the variety her job with Hegarty Financial Management provides – here she tells us more about what being an apprentice is like and what her typical day at the office consists of.
Can you give me an outline of a typical day at work?
I am working for Hegarty Financial Management which is a financial services consultancy providing professional advice to both individuals and corporate clients. My days are quite busy, which is great and thankfully there is a huge variety in the work that I do. A typical day usually starts with me logging into my emails and checking which of them requires urgent action. I then usually receive a daily reminder from Broker Information Services (BIS) which is the technology platform that we use to operate the administration of the business and it holds all our client information and documentation. This action email gives me a list of tasks that I have created and helps me prioritise my workload for the day and the week ahead.
One of my daily responsibilities is opening the post each morning and scanning the post onto the BIS Platform for future reference for one of the team to action – this is an important job as it keeps everyone in the business on top of immediate priorities
I have a staff meeting with all the team one day a week and I have three mortgage meetings a week with the mortgage team, I will then be in contact with all the advisers throughout the day where they will ask me to complete different tasks. For example if one of the advisers had a client coming into the office or a Microsoft teams meeting I would have to prepare the required compliance documentation for them to help prepare for their meeting.
Are most of your days the same in terms of format?
Although the format is mainly the same each day, no day is the same. I liaise with the advisers individually each day regarding any work that needs to be prioritised. As Hegarty Financial provide advice in pensions, mortgages, investments, deposits, life assurance and income protection every day is different as I am dealing with different clients, different products, and different queries. It is great to get this vast experience and firsthand knowledge and my employer ensures I’m always getting exposure to all areas within the business. This allows me to gain experience in all types of products and ensures no one day is the same.
Every Thursday is ring fenced for my online lectures this is completed at home which allows me to concentrate on the lectures undisturbed. These lecturers are conducted with IT Sligo – I really enjoy the remote learning aspect, and while initially, I was apprehensive, I can’t believe how well it works and I don’t think we miss out on anything by not being on campus. Our academic studies are really interesting and it’s great to be able to put into practice what we learn in our daily work.
Do you regularly meet/schedule calls with your colleagues for check-ins?
Yes, we have four Microsoft teams’ meetings a week. We have a staff meeting every Monday morning with all staff going through their workload for the week ahead. On a Monday, Wednesday and Friday I also have a mortgage Microsoft teams meeting with my colleagues from the mortgage department to discuss what clients’ requirements need to be prioritised. I work really closely with my colleagues and they’ve all been a great support to me while I’m still learning and studying.
How often do you meet/schedule calls with your mentor?
My mentor is currently working remotely, and so she calls me daily to run through any work that needs to be actioned for the day and checks in on me to see how my day is going and if I need any assistance with the workload. It is great that we have these calls so regularly as we stay on top of the workload that needs to be completed daily and if I require any assistance in the office. Apart from my nominated mentor all the financial advisers in the office provide me with continued assistance each day while completing my work. The team provides me with technical knowledge that has become invaluable in the office. The support and guidance I’ve received from my mentor and all the financial advisors has been invaluable and I always feel I have people I can turn to for advice.
What was it like working remotely?
I had previously been working remotely at the beginning of the lockdown in March 2020 but only for six weeks. The business had to find a new way of working remotely which was quite different compared to being in the office with everyone. We had to adapt how we contacted each other and we continued working as normal via email, online meetings, and phone calls – it was wonderful to see everyone come together and in many ways it was a seamless transition. Currently, most of us have returned to the office with covid health procedures in place. We continue to use Microsoft teams for our weekly staff meetings (for those who aren’t back yet), and we feel this works well to stay on top of our work but also most importantly to stay safe.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
What I enjoy most about my job is the way no two days in the office are the same. As I am working for an established financial broker my role is varied and I am learning all different aspects of the financial services industry and business. What I hadn’t considered was the importance of the use of different technology such as Microsoft office, Microsoft Teams, BIS, Constant Contact and social media. I have now mastered a new skill set which I really enjoy and it has helped me feel more confident in my abilities. I feel appreciated by my colleagues and they are always there to help me with any queries I have and explain to me anything I am unsure of. A bonus to my work is building a personal client relationship with our loyal client base. As I always had an interest in business and finance in school and had no desire to go to university the apprenticeship scheme really appealed to me. Now being two years into the apprenticeship I am happy with the decision I have made and am certain this is the career path for me.
What is your experience of studying remotely - do you think it works well?
We had always completed our studies remotely from the beginning of the apprenticeship and before the pandemic, so there was no change for us in the way we were learning. The lectures are completed remotely online by IT Sligo but are done in a way which is very interactive. We are always encouraged to participate in each class and this gives us an opportunity to complete group work which is a great way to interact with our classmates and learn from each other.
During our classes, the lecturers are continually communicating with us by asking questions and allowing us to answer and have discussions together, so it is nearly like being in person with our classmates. We are also provided with continuous assessment tasks for the year and this helps us to stay on top of the work even while studying remotely. The lecturers are always available if we need any help or need to ask questions. Overall, I think studying remotely from home has worked well for me as I have now passed 5/6 QFA exams with remote learning. The apprenticeship is a great initiative and it has provided me with an opportunity to earn and learn and develop a career within the financial services industry.
Recruitment for the apprenticeship programme runs from October to August each year. To find out more, head to earnandlearn.ie.