What made you choose a career in the industry?
Before joining Santander, I’d worked in the retail industry. I enjoyed it to some degree but wanted to change direction and give myself better opportunities for career progression.
I wasn’t entirely clear on the direction I wanted to take but knew I had gained good experience in a customer facing role so saw that as a skill I could build upon.
When I saw the Customer Service Agent job with Santander Consumer Finance advertised, I recognised how my retail experience could transfer to a different industry. I also knew people who worked for Santander Consumer Finance and had heard positive things.
Working for a well-known finance company, alongside the role itself, was a big draw. And although I was starting in an entry level role, I could see that there was scope to get higher up the corporate ladder, quickly.
My first experience of Santander right from the first interview gave the impression of a friendly culture. The Redhill offices felt like a positive environment, and instinctively, it just felt like the right fit.
What was your route into the industry – i.e. qualifications, apprenticeship?
The retail experience I had gained was definitely very helpful. Having face to face customer experience prepared me for a fast-paced and reactive working environment.
As part of the job interview process, I took basic maths and English tests and having successfully passed those, was asked back for interview.
Since joining Santander, they have supported me to move up the career ladder. I have already progressed through a range of roles, leading up to my current role as a team leader.
I have also been fortunate to be ‘headhunted’ internally and offered support to complete a fast-track business management degree. I completed the course earlier this year and it’s not only given me the tools to be better at my job but opened the opportunities for further progression along a number of different pathways.
What advice would you give to others trying to get into the industry?
Just go for it! Even if you don’t understand the industry completely, everything you need can be learnt on the job.
From my own experience, I’d also encourage people to not be afraid of starting from the beginning again with your career, especially if it means securing better opportunities for the future.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt so far from working in the industry?
Be patient, it’s a marathon not a sprint, and listen to everything going on around you. If you get your head down and work as hard as you can, then the progression opportunities are huge. I had only been at Santander for eight months before moving into a new role.
I’ve also learnt that you never know what’s going to happen or change on a day-to-day basis. This keeps the job interesting, but equally, as the past two years have proved, can require you to adapt unexpectedly.
What are the things you love most about working in the industry?
I love looking back and seeing where I started and where I am now. It’s been a great industry to grow into and find my career path.
I also love working in an office with a diverse mix of people, both young and experienced. We work very closely as a team, so I feel like I’m part of a community where everyone has individual value.
Our CEO is also very hands on and very visible as part of the wider team. Everyone is made to feel valued, no matter where you sit in the organisation.