While studies show that only 15% of adults working in financial services want their child to complete an apprenticeship, recent graduates and former apprentices employed by a business lender are urging students to consider all their options after receiving exam results.
The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which specialises in loans for businesses which struggle to access mainstream finance, has invested in the next generation of finance experts by creating new roles for Warrington-born, recent economics graduate Doug Heseltine (21) and two of its former apprentices, Katie Revitt (22) and Ellie Hogarth (20).
Doug has joined BEF as associate investment manager following a two-week placement at the social enterprise last year. A University of Leicester Economics graduate, he has been working closely with the nine-strong team of investment managers.
“I learnt a lot about BEF and how it’s different to other lenders during my placement. Everyone was open to questions and provided me with additional insight into the loans process; I was thrilled to be offered a full time role straight after graduation,” said Doug.
He added: “I am especially looking forward to having a hands-on role in a social enterprise helping the local business community and learning from an experienced team of investment managers. The support I have received so far has been brilliant with one-to-one mentoring, goal-setting and opportunities for future development.”
Further to new recruitment at its Bradford office, BEF is also training Katie and Ellie in accountancy and investment management respectively, following their completion of a business administration apprenticeship. Katie joined the team after completing sixth form in 2013, and went on to study part time for a business management degree at Bradford College, while working at BEF. Finding an aptitude for numbers, she is now undertaking qualifications from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), while Ellie is finishing her level three NVQ of business administration before progressing to the investment manager training.
Simon Jackson, head of investment at BEF, acts as a mentor for all three recruits. “As a company, we have a lot of experienced and skilled staff who have worked in investment and finance for a number of years. Due to rapid growth, we knew it was time to change the dynamic of the business and pass on some of that experience. We saw fantastic potential in Katie and Ellie to progress further into the company, opening up the doors for future apprentices, while Doug is straight from university with a fresh perspective and ready to be moulded into a fully-fledged investment manager.
“As well as future-proofing the business, bringing in a younger generation complements the increasing number of entrepreneurs and start-up businesses we are lending to. It’s encouraging to see more young people taking this route into finance, it’s something our chief executive, Stephen Waud, is especially passionate about as a former apprentice engineer,” added Simon.
BEF has offices across the north in Bradford, Leeds, York and Darlington. For more information, visit www.befund.org.uk