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CARA MCNAIR

Aberdeen Standard Investments

Apprentice

School Leaver

Why do you enjoy your job?

The Apprenticeship programme lasts 2 years and guarantees me a permanent job in the department of my choice. Within these 2 years I rotate round the business, spending 4 months in each department before moving on to the next area. I love this about my role as it has let me meet so many people across the company and gain insights into how each department contributes to the overall objectives of the company. All the teams are extremely welcoming and keen to help me learn as much as I can during my time with them. They encourage me to work towards my goals and help build my knowledge so that I can take advantage of all the opportunities there are to progress in my career.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?

Moving departments every 4 months means that I go from being a valued and needed member of my team, to not having the knowledge to complete much work or be able to help the team as much I could before. Nearing the end of the 4 months rotation I am able to carry out all my tasks with very little assistance, which makes the first few weeks of my new department challenging as I have to adapt to the new ways of thinking and learn how the new team operates together.

How did you get into your job?

I realised early on in 6th year that although university is the most common route to a degree, it isn’t the right path for me. I felt that coming out of university would put me in the same position as everyone else who has a degree with no experience, and find it difficult to secure a job afterwards. I was also excited about starting my career and finding a job that I could grow within and become a valued member of a team. This is when a friend of the family introduced me to apprenticeships, which were aimed at school leavers and focused on bringing more young people into the financial industry. Having an apprenticeship means I can work towards my qualifications, gain the years’ experience that everyone else at university won’t have, and be able to earn an income which allows me to save for the future instead of being in debt from student loans.

What are your future aspirations?

I am focused on building my knowledge about the investment industry and having enough exposure to the different departments so that I can make the best decision about which area of the business I’d like to stay in permanently after the apprenticeship finishes. I am enthusiastic and willing to push myself to start studying for my degree, which I have the opportunity to do through the apprenticeship at the end of the year. All the teams at Aberdeen Standard Investments are very supportive and willing for me to work towards the qualifications I want so that I can succeed.

How would you sum up your Investment20/20 experience?

The apprenticeship programme is an amazing opportunity to learn on the job and work your way up the business from an early age. It gives you the proper insights to the industry that a few weeks’ work experience couldn’t give you and you get to meet so many different people who are all willing to help you understand the business and make the right decisions that are important for your career.

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