IFS Apprenticeship
IFS Apprenticeship

We caught up with IFS apprenticeship graduate Daniel Devine to share his experience as an IFS Specialist Apprentice

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m 27 years old Business Analyst from Dublin.

What were you doing before you started the program?

Prior to the apprenticeship, I was playing professional football with Shamrock Rovers while doing my business undergrad in IT Tallaght (now TU Dublin) part-time at night.

What company are you working with as part of this program?

Fidelity International.

What made you interested in getting into this line of work?

I have a bad knee from my time playing professional football in England with Aston Villa. When I was in Rovers as a 24-year-old, the club doctor said I had about two years of professional football left then I’d have to hang my boots up. I always had an interest in finance, and I excelled at those modules in college. One day I saw an advertisement for the Apprenticeship in the paper and decided to apply.

What made you decide to choose the apprenticeship as a path for your education?

Getting that first step on the ladder in the finance world through working for a major financial institution while also increasing my skill set through the Financial Services Analytics course was the reason why I chose this path.

What skills do you feel you learned or enhanced whilst on the apprenticeship programme?

Coming from football I had to learn everything from scratch really. I would say knowledge in finance, critical thinking, communication, analytical skills, problem-solving, SQL, and process modelling.

Tell us about a typical day in the office for you.

I work in a technology project team. Running daily standups with my team (business analysts, developers, testers, and the project manager), analysing processes and workflows, developing solutions, eliciting knowledge from the business teams and stakeholders, and documenting requirements. I’m lucky that no day is the same in my role. Everyday presents new challenges to tackle and that is the reason I find my role exciting.

What advice would you give someone interested in doing the programme?

Do it. An opportunity to work for a major finance firm while gaining further qualifications is a no brainer. It was best decision I ever made (well, maybe after deciding to sign for Aston Villa!).

How do you think this differs from a traditional college course?

I’ve been through 4 years of college and it was great, but I didn’t get any work experience, nor did I put most of what I studied to use after graduating. Whereas the Apprenticeship gave me hands-on real-world experience whilst developing a pertinent skillset from a college course tailored for the modern financial world.

How do you feel you were supported in your role both on and off the job?

The structure of the Apprenticeship offers great support in the fact that all apprentices are assigned a mentor in the workplace. Making the transition from football to finance was daunting but I was lucky to have a great mentor and manager during my Apprenticeship who supported me brilliantly. Also, the lecturers and programme director in the National College of Ireland offer great support too.

How has the program benefitted you?

It changed my life and put me on a career path that I am delighted to be on. Looking back, I never imagined I would have developed the knowledge, skills, and confidence that I possess now. I used to get more nervous chairing meetings than playing in front of 5,000 screaming fans in Tallaght Stadium but stuff like that comes to me as second nature now.

What are your plans for the future?

I was kept on full-time after my Apprenticeship and I got promoted this year too, so my plan is to continue to progress my career further in Fidelity. Also, I am currently doing a master’s in data science part-time in the evenings, so my plan is to complete this by next May. Outside of that? Who knows? Maybe get back playing a bit of GAA with my local club St. Judes and enjoy life in general.