Kirsten is an Assistant Relationship Manager on a Lloyds Banking Group Higher Apprenticeship. What has she discovered so far?
Strengths – ‘Discover yours’
“I realised I had these three strengths – honesty, empathy, communication – when I was a caring for elderly people with dementia.
“Building relationships was another important aspect to being a carer, and something that I was also good at.
“So when I saw this relationship management apprentice job advertised, I thought I could bring all these strengths together, caring for the financial well-being of business customers.
“More strengths are emerging now that I’m building my confidence as an apprentice. This is also true in my volunteering role as an Adult Leader in GirlGuiding UK, where I’m supporting and leading groups, and building individual relationships within those groups.
“Both these undertakings – professional and personal – complement each other perfectly.”
My work – ‘Be a good listener’
“My job title is Assistant Relationship Manager and I work with two Commercial Banking Relationship Managers in a Lloyds Bank branch in the West Country, where we look after a portfolio of 400 business customers – we call them clients.
“All these clients are small and medium-sized companies that have business accounts with us. I have to be a good listener, calm and reliable, so that I can understand exactly what each of them needs.
What I do every day – ‘Pick things up quickly’
“I spend a large amount of time on the phone with my clients, communicating, strengthening our relationships.
“It’s important that I’m an enjoyable and dependable point of contact for clients – we work very hard as a team to anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations.
“Through this job I’ve discovered that I’m able to work well on my own and in a team. I’ve also surprised myself as how quickly I pick up things.
“This means I can put them into practice without having to be shown multiple times, which really helps in our fast-paced environment.”
Development– ‘Pick things up quickly’
“I love working here in the Taunton branch – it’s so welcoming and friendly. It feels good to play my part so that we’re achieving the right results together as a team, as a branch, as a bank.
“My line manager is doing a great job developing me, helping me to become more at ease in my role and in my networking – it’s important that expand my contacts and promote myself.
“My colleagues fully support me in everything I’m doing connected with my apprenticeship.
“They go out of their way to support apprentices, and I really appreciate that.”
Training – ‘It’s opened my eyes’
“I’ve already had quite a few training sessions that come with this Higher Apprenticeship.
“I’ve learning about my behavioural styles, and how I can use them to get better results for my clients.
“It’s opened my eyes to how others interact with me, and how I interact with them – these observations are fantastic because I can apply them in the workplace and in my personal life.”
Results – ‘Discovering, changing, growing’
“With the support of my manager and colleagues I’m definitely developing into a more self-assured person.
“I’m more determined to succeed, more at ease interacting with senior colleagues, and more comfortable broadening my network and experiences across the Group.
“This feeling, where I’m discovering, changing, growing – it extends into my personal life and spurs me on with my personal fitness, my volunteering and my qualifications.
“I’m getting great results in the gym, I’ve qualified in my Girlguiding work, and I’ve just achieved my Level 6 Professional Banker’s Certificate.”
Key moment – ‘When I became a professional banker’
“It’s great to have my Level 6 certificate, framed, on my wall. I worked hard for it and passed it a month early.
“I keep glancing at the certificate and thinking, ‘Wow, mega achievement!’ – it’s shown me what I can do when I set my mind to it, and I’m more motivated now that I’ve set a career direction for myself.
“When I started my apprenticeship, I resolved to take on every new challenge that came my way, including responsibilities and activities that I thought were beyond me.
“This resolution has proved to me how ambitious I am, and how much I can achieve when I focus my energy.”
What drives me? – ‘Changing things for the better’
“I’ve surprised myself at how much I enjoy coming to work every day.
“It was so exciting to get a place on the Lloyds Banking Group Apprenticeship – words can’t describe the feeling when I opened the email informing me that I was successful.
“My apprenticeship is certainly helping me to discover what drives me as person. I love the busy environment, putting clients first, thinking ‘what more can I do for them?’ – just like we do in guideguiding.
“I’m discovering that I enjoy changing things for the better. I want to keep finding out new things about myself and about my clients, so that I can keep improving and making a difference to people’s lives.”
Plans tomorrow – ‘Keep helping others’
“I see myself progressing into a full relationship management role, developing my customer service and business relationship skills.
“I want to continue to help small businesses develop, because I have a passion for helping others to achieve their goals, and I believe that successful local businesses mean thriving local communities.
“Further into the future, I’d love a leadership role, supporting my colleagues, motivating them and encouraging them, just like I’ve be supported by the people who’ve led me.
“Working here at Lloyds Banking Group has ignited a passion for challenging myself and taking on new and exciting things, both at work and in my personal life.
“Bring on the next challenge, that’s what I say!”
My biggest strengths? Honesty, empathy, communication.