Xavier Williams

Xavier is a Fraud Investigator on a Lloyds Banking Group Advanced Apprenticeship. What has he discovered so far?

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Your future – ‘You need a plan’

“If you want a good career, you need the right plan and the right skills.

“I didn’t have a clue about any of this until I started my apprenticeship ­­­– I just dreamt about trainers and designer clothes. I seriously had no idea what to do with my life.

“Now I have clear goals and a smart wardrobe, and in two years I’ve become the youngest highest level investigator in our unit.

How it started – ‘By chance’

“I was actually looking to open an online bank account, and by chance I came across the Lloyds Banking Group careers site.

“My first year of sixth form was coming to an end and I knew I wasn’t built for the university life.

“So when I starting looking through the site, I found a vacancy for a Fraud Investigator apprentice.  I thought, ‘That sounds interesting’ and I applied, just like that.

“Obviously I had no relevant experience, but I’d done some volunteering with local youth communities.

“That gave me something to talk about at the interview, and the hiring managers were sufficiently impressed to offer me the job!

“I showed them what I was passionate about, I think it’s important to do that. They have to see what you believe in, to see your potential.”

Realisation – ‘You grow up quick’

“I’ve really grown up with this apprenticeship, started making more mature decisions for my life.

“Instead of wanting to own 100 pairs of trainers, I now want to know 100 different ways to invest my money.

“The life skills I’ve learned since being here have been mind-blowing – lessons I’d never have got otherwise.”

Discovery – ‘You learn how to adapt’

“I’ve grown majorly confident in communicating with everyone and anyone, and my confidence has gone up each time I’ve had success in my work.

“I was selected out of thousands of colleagues to fly over to the Isle of Man and work for 3 weeks. I was trained up on multiple systems and did extremely well in my role.

“I still stay in contact with the team over there – it’s always good to keep in touch with people.

“I’ve sat in on more than 10 conferences with senior managers, discussing figures and ideas. I’ve taken myself completely out of my comfort zone, just so that I can learn how to adapt – and I did.”

Passing it on – ­ ‘Do what I’ve done’

“I also became ‘the face’ of Lloyds Banking Group for the UK’s Government’s Apprenticeship initiative, and now here I am doing this interview for this website.

“It’s good to be able to inspire others to be successful too, to do what you’ve done. It’s like passing on good advice.

“I’ve been in three videos, sharing my experiences of what it’s like to be an apprentice, and I’ve been on YouTube.

“You might even see my face on posters in the high street and on brochures and leaflets and things like that. It’s mad how far I’ve come!

Work – ‘Make a plan, get qualifications’

“I’d definitely say this apprenticeship has done more for me than university would have.

“I’m 19, with less than 2 years’ experience in the finance industry, and I’ve grown to be completely independent.

“I have a plan for my career, a framework for getting the right skills and qualifications.

“And right now I’m heading for a BTEC Diploma Level 3 in Business Administration, which is the qualification that will help me to progress further.”

My job – ‘Agents with special skills’

“I’m in a team of agents in the Financial Sanctions Unit. We investigate people who owe the bank money – we’ve got special skills.

“I’ve worked my way up to the highest level of investigation in the unit. And now I’m being trained by the Court Production Order unit that deals with the courts.

“This is all part of me getting broad training so that I can have a multi-skilled mindset that I can apply in more than one department – the more units I help to tackle fraud, the better.”

Passion – ‘Be entrepreneurial’

“As well as being a full-time apprentice with Lloyds Banking Group, I also have a passion for being entrepreneurial, and so I’ve started my own ventures.

“One is a design business that specialises in websites, logos, business cards and flyers, and I actually employ an apprentice myself.

“It’s been good to pass onto him some of the business behaviours that I’ve been learning in my full-time role.

“It feels good to be able to help others as well as myself.

“Obviously, I’m committed to my future in fraud investigation, but having the work life balance, along with my own entrepreneurial interests, is good for me and my all-round development as a person.”

Plans ­– ‘Mine’s a 10-year one’

“I have a 10-year plan – to keep learning more about business administration so that I can become more successful in business.

“I want to do this here at Lloyds Banking Group, and outside with the ventures I’m passionate about.

“Eventually I want to be in such a comfortable financial position that I won’t need to work. I can then spend time with my family, and also mentor young people.

“I’m very passionate about travelling and have actually visited more than 15 different countries so far. I’d like to be able to as much of that as I can.”

My advice – ‘Go for it’

“I advise other school leavers who are thinking about becoming apprentices – I say ‘go for it’ because there’s a world of opportunities to discover once you’re in.

“Lloyds Baking Group has great benefits, so make sure you make the most of them.

“And always have a plan – I stress that to everyone. It’s great to have a dream, but even greater to have a plan that’ll get you to your dream.

“Hoping and wishing for things won’t get you far. You have to put yourself out there, on the front line, in order to get the best opportunities.

“Be ready to develop your professional career, and also your personal life. I was told this when I joined the Group. Make time for what you love, develop your strengths, feed your passions –you’ll be happier that way.

“Be open to any constructive feedback, and remember to feel the emotion, even if it hurts, because every mistake is a lesson learned.

“Step out and go the extra mile. By putting yourself forward for things that others don’t like doing, you leave a good impression – it shows real determination.

“It’s ok to be rejected. You should find out why you were rejected and then use the lesson to make sure you’re accepted the next time.

“Take responsibility. Nobody’s perfect and everybody make mistakes, so if you make a mistake, own it. You’ll respect yourself for it, and others will respect you for having the strength to do it.”

Finally – ‘Stay true to you’

“I’ve grown up loads and travelled the UK working in different offices, but I haven’t got too carried away with myself.

“I still like to go home and kick a ball about with my mates, go down to the club and shoot some pool, have some beers.

“I’ll never lose sight of who I am, what made me, where I’ve come from. That’s me, that’s what makes me who I am. I won’t change that. I want to keep being me.

“At work, at home, at play – I want to be part of a team, thinking strategically, having a game, getting there ­­­– that’s what this apprenticeship is showing me.”

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Mark Pask

Mark Pask
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Emily Collister

Emily Collister

I’m in a team of agents that investigates people who owe the bank money – we’ve got special skills.