Throughout July 2018, I spent a month working at AFME as part of the Career Ready programme. Career Ready is a scheme that provides young people with the chance to get an insight into the business world. At the moment I am not planning to attend University, so I applied to the programme as I thought it would help me to explore my options, gain valuable work experience and build up my confidence. A career in finance interests me as the industry continues to adapt and change following the financial crisis, and Women in Finance is becoming an ever more prominent movement. I also think the sector will suit me well as I have a passion for working hard and facing new challenges!
I was excited to start my AFME internship as I was given the opportunity to spend time in four different departments – allowing me to benefit from a wide range of experiences. I spent time with Operations, IT, Capital Markets and finally External Relations (which includes events and communications).
I have learnt many new things during my time at AFME and have been given the opportunity to work on a range of different projects. In my week with the Capital Markets team, for instance, I assisted the team to produce research in areas such as government bonds and equities, areas already of interest to me due to my A Level studies in finance. Another area I found particularly interesting is how ‘Green Finance’ is growing and becoming more important in the financial industry. There is much more that the green finance sector can do to raise awareness and understanding of the work it is doing. I think I would like to further my research on this topic as it is definitely something I am considering getting involved in when I leave sixth-form and enter the world of work.
People skills are important in any role and I was lucky to spend some time with the HR team, participating in the recruitment process and helping to ensure the right candidates made it to the final interview stage. I was able to be a part of over-the-phone first stage interviews where I experienced how interviewers handle difficult situations with unsuitable applicants, as well as congratulating certain candidates who made it through to the next stage of the process. My time with IT was also very instructive, including a visit to the ‘Comms Room’ where I learned how important the equipment is to ensure everything runs smoothly. A task of mine that week was to create a short guide on using ‘Secure Print’, I managed to complete this quickly and efficiently which is something I am proud of.
But a real highlight for me was being able to research and then present three exciting initiatives related to wellbeing that AFME could potentially invest in. I chose how mindfulness can increase employee morale, the benefits of flexible working hours for a business in the financial industry, and how diversity impacts an organisation. I was able to get in touch with external companies to arrange times and dates for them to hold a mindfulness course at AFME, as well as diversity training.
My final week at AFME was spent with the external relations team where I had the opportunity to attend the Summer Charity Event at Mudchute Farm where I helped make a short film throughout the day to post on the AFME website.
Overall, my experience at AFME has been wonderful thanks to everyone I had the opportunity to work alongside and all the employees who made my time here interesting and beneficial. I have learned a lot during my time and broadened my skills, especially my confidence and knowledge of how a financial organisation is run and who is involved.