Emily Collister

Emily is an Analyst on a Lloyds Banking Group Higher Apprenticeship. What has she discovered so far?

Strengths – ‘They’re all interlinked’

“I love netball. Since starting my apprenticeship I haven’t missed a single game.

“This is because Lloyds Banking Group encourages us to have a healthy work life balance, which means that working long hours tends to be the exception rather than the norm.

“I’ve discovered that a lot of the behaviours I display on the netball court are strengths that I use in my work.

“Things like coming up with a game plan, team work, communicating, executing moves, showing concentration and staying power, focusing on the outcome.

“Life, work, play – my strengths and passions are all interlinked.”

Baking – ‘Similar skills to being an Analyst’

“It’s the same with baking, a bug that I caught from my mum and my gran – we’re a family of bakers!

“Nowadays I go to evening classes to learn cake decorating – and it teaches me to be patient, to concentrate on detail and patterns, to become absorbed in the process.

“Believe it or not, I use similar skills in my day job – analysing financial data, identifying patterns and investigating things that don’t add up.

“We’re a team of analysts who follow a particular strategy, always liaising closely with other teams to achieve a common goal.”

My job – ‘Numbers and people’

“I am an Analyst in Financial Control, in a part of the Group called Commercial Banking Finance.

“Aside from the skills I’ve just mentioned, and aside from being good with numbers, I’m also good with people.

“This is important because I need to be able to convey my ideas clearly and simply to colleagues at various different levels, some quite senior.

“My experience as a floor manager in a high street fashion store – which is what I was doing before I came here – has really helped with the way I relate to people.”

Investigation – ‘I’m a finance detective’

“I do a lot of financial investigating in my job – it’s something I really enjoy and am actually quite good at.  

“And because of the nature of my investigations, no two breaks (our word for financial anomalies, or things that don’t add up) are ever the same, so I’d definitely say that every day is different.

“You could call me a finance detective, even though I still have many things left to discover about being an Analyst, and about being myself!”

Proudest moment – ‘I solved it’

“My proudest moment was fixing an issue on an information-sharing site that had just gone live.

“After some quick investigation, I discovered the problem and solved it. It was one of those ‘Eureka!’ moments where you realise you can do it, and you don’t need to ask for help.

“I grew a lot after that – I’m amazed at what I’m now able to do by myself, without having to rely on colleagues, who are always very supportive.

Responsibility – ‘I’m already training others’

“I’ve discovered that I’ve got what it takes to train others, even though I’m still being trained through this apprenticeship.

“This means that my manager and other senior colleagues have decided that I have the necessary ability, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it – simple as that!

“It good to be given this level of responsibility, it makes me feel trusted and valued as part of the wider team.

“Even so, I still have to pinch myself – I never thought I’d be training other colleagues on how to carry out certain processes and investigate and fix issues.

Development – ‘Conquering low confidence’

“It’s good that my manager moves me outside my comfort zone ­– it’s how I’m developing my confidence.

“Confidence is something I always struggled with, but by taking on these new challenges and responsibilities, and by finding out that I can meet them, I’m discovering that my confidence issue was completely in my mind.

“I’m much more capable than I thought. I’m conquering low confidence, which is nothing to be ashamed of because everyone has less confidence in some parts of their lives, more confidence in other parts.

“I’m definitely more confident in more aspects of my life, more so now than ever before”

Training – ‘Now I can problem-solve’

“My manager is always encouraging me to take part in different courses and workshops.

“This is so that I can learn more about different aspects of the bank, and meet new people outside of my team. Again, it’s helping with my confidence.”

“When I first started my apprenticeship I used to struggle with some of the processes – with how to problem-solve when things went wrong.

“But my manager was an expert at helping me with this. Very patiently, he’d ask me lots of questions, like a series of logical steps.

“That questioning enabled me to think for myself, to find my own mental procedure whereby I could come up with the solution myself.

“He never once did it for me, or directly showed me how to do it. Instead, his questioning showed me the way, so that I was able to work it out.

“Now I just have to take a step back and ask myself similar questions to the one’s he asked me.

“It’s a planned, strategic way of thinking. And now that I’ve got it, I can apply it to many aspects of my work, including the way I train others.

Plans – ‘Get my accountancy qualifications’

“My immediate plan is to continue working in Financial Control once I’ve completed my apprenticeship.

“I aim to progress up a level to become an assistant manager, and I aim to continue to study for my CIMA qualification and become a fully qualified accountant.

“Outside of work I plan to see more of the world, and my first trip’s already booked!”

Advice – ‘Make the connections and emphasise them’

“My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship is simple – go for it!

“It’s one of the best opportunities I’ve ever had, a great way to start a career.

“You’re getting the best of both worlds, where you study and work at the same time. And you’re putting into play strengths that you already have, that you use in every single day, in every aspect of your life.

“For me, netball, baking and managing a fashion store and the same as data analysis, financial investigation and process training.

“You just have to look below the surface to see that the core strengths and passions are all connected.

“It’s down to you to make the connections, and to emphasise them when you apply for your apprenticeship.”

Netball teaches me how to play to a strategy and communicate in a team.