• 1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
  • On the Apprenticeship, my day-to-day schedule would be a morning meeting with the team to discuss our KPI (Key Performance Indicators) reports due out that day as they are treated as priority to meet client deadlines on time. We will also identify where capacity lies within the team to offer support to anyone who would be pressed to complete their workload in time during the day. During the day I would build and prepare reports for clients, which varied from very basic procedures to more complex bespoke reports. I would also sign off reports prepared by my other colleagues to give a final quality check before they get dispatched to clients. Overtime, my day-to-day schedule changed as i worked more efficiently as i got used to the processes over a few months. Around 3-4 months in i managed to get put forward to be a part of a major project in our team. All of our reporting software had to be migrated to a newer version and had to be done in short timescale. Having exposure to projects was crucial to securing a full time position withing my team.


  • 2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
  • During the apprenticeship i learned skills within my team to make me work more efficient on my day-to-day basis. This could range from keyboard shortcuts to updating reports in bulk quantities. The apprenticeship strengthened a lot of skills I had not really used since school. During the Investment 2020 programme we had to create a presentation to educate other apprentices all about our teams to gain a further understanding of what the team do for SLA. This was great practice for me as when i was on the software migration project i had to present the new enhancements to teams in Edinburgh, Asia and Americas.


  • 3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
  • I enjoyed the I2020 SLA programme as it gave me an opportunity to prove myself in a finance based company without a requirement of further education to get accepted. This apprenticeship cares about your personality traits to suit you to a team that fits how you work best. I initially thought marketing would have been my preferred area to work in but i have to admit that the Early Careers team put me in a team far more suited to my traits. I was personally more driven to achieve progress within my role in my team than the apprenticeship. I dropped out of college studying HND accounting after second year so securing a full time position was a priority, especially when I was focused and dedicated to the position. For the apprenticeship qualification i wanted to get it completed so I did a lot of outstanding work in the space of a day when there was only around a month left to hand it in. I think treating my team as priority was the correct thing to do as I achieved the qualification regardless. Overall, the apprenticeship was well run within the business to allow time to complete your work for the course and your work within the team.


  • 4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
  • I felt that my manager did a great job training me up and making me feel comfortable as soon as i joined the team. He was very supportive and was very much looking out for me if i ever made any mistakes. He allowed me to further my knowledge to get on to projects and allowing me to be apart of his meetings to meet contacts within the business. I was never sat with nothing to do as i was keen to learn. I felt my work and focus was in my managers best interest as he wanted to get me involved with projects. Overtime, trust and accountability built up which is crucial if you want to progress.


  • 5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
  • I was given time to go and study when ever i wanted as long as my daily allocation was done. Of course this wouldn't be the case in other teams but it worked out well given i had a daily schedule. I would say i was given around 3-4 hours per week to study but it was never an issues if i needed more time either on some weeks.


  • 6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
  • The support was okay from the advisor from people plus. I can understand from their point of view why i was probably more difficult as i prioritised my role over the Higher qualification. When deciding which units i would be working towards i had to change 1 or 2 of them because they simply didn't apply to my role. A lot of them were front office focused but we eventually agreed on suitable outcomes. Every month we would have very useful calls to discuss my progress and where I stood on my units. Quarter end affected my availability to completing some of the work on time for my advisor. Within our team, quarter end increases our daily workload as there are a lot more reports due out to clients. This is why i completed this work in bulk in August when i had time.


  • 7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
  • Personally, I think the presentation was the only part that helped improve me in my role. I did units on e-mail and excel but I did not learn anything new as I already had this knowledge prior to starting the apprenticeship. Because I had previously studied accounting at college I had a lot of exposure to a lot of the units. However, it was useful to remind myself on these skills when i was using them day-to-day.


  • 8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
  • When we joined we were made aware of the many social groups within SLA and how to be a part of what they do. I did not look into much of this as i was focused on my role and the apprenticeship - I did not feel I had much space to fit in time for these groups,however i may look into these groups in the near future.


  • 9a. Would you recommend abrdn to a friend?
  • Yes

  • 9b. Why?
  • I think the I2020 school and college leavers programme is a great opportunity for anyone looking to make an immediate start in financial services. All colleagues aim to meet the company drivers so they make everyone feel very welcome if its a new start or a new team they are working with. I also think that they pay generously for an Apprenticeship and are always investing in you as you are the future of the business.

  • 10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to abrdn?
  • I would highly recommend talking about your important experiences that have built the person that you are. It sounds cliche but they want to here who YOU are, not about if you got a few As and a couple Bs. Include talking about where you went travelling and what you learned or if you have helped in a food bank to support others. I feel that there are few major companies that employ staff in a modern way like SLA but i believe it gets the best out of the employees they hire.


Apprenticeship - Higher Level (Level 4/5/6/7)

Business & Administration, Finance & Banking


March 2021

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