IFS Apprenticeship
IFS Apprenticeship

We recently caught up with current IFS Associate Apprentice Helena Gargan to talk about her experiences as an IFS Apprentice.

Where are you doing the Apprenticeship Programme?
I was very fortunate to be offered a position on the Corporate Actions team at State Street. State Street is one of the largest asset management companies and is listed on the Fortune 500. Being a part of such a well-known and well-established organisation, it has given me great exposure to the financial services industry.

Were you always interested in getting into this line of work?
During my time spent at school, I had developed an interest in accounting. I found myself quite torn between my passion for hairdressing from a young age and my recent interest found in accounting. Not sure in what route to take, I went on to study hairdressing for four continuous years at Cavan Institute while working and developing my skills in a salon. I had planned to move to England and interviewed with numerous salons. The realisation of upscaling and starting a new journey in Leeds was not one I wished to follow. I came back to Ireland with the certainty I wanted to leave hairdressing and review various accounting college courses. Through this, I found the IFS apprenticeship which appeared more captivating as I felt financial services provided more job variety.

How did you come across the Apprenticeship Programme?
I wanted to make a career change and pursue a career in finance. Going back to full time education appeared quiet daunting for me and started to look at other options. Through my research I found the IFS Apprenticeship programme and instantly was captured by what it had to offer. It meant I would be able to pursue my career change in finance while earning a salary and gaining an international recognised qualification in Financial Services.

How’s the Apprenticeship going so far? What skills are you learning?
The apprenticeship is going great! When I reflect back to when I first started this apprenticeship, I realise I have come a long way! Some of the modules I am studying at NCI include Financial Markets, ICT, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Statistics and Economics. All of which are relevant within Financial Services.

The skills I have learned at work is the ability to accomplish tasks under a highly demanding and deadline driven environment. Since joining State Street, I have developed my communication and interpersonal skills. Combined with my ability to retain crucial information and strong progression within the team, I have become the assigned first point of contact for our offshore team.

How has the programme benefitted you?
The programme has benefitted me immensely! It has given me the opportunity to be actively involved within my team and be immersed within the finance sector. In my experience, working and learning conjointly helps me better understand the work I am involved with. Without this programme, I would not have that element. As the apprenticeship programme is aimed specifically towards working in the financial industry - both college and work complement one another. It allows me to put what I am learning in college into practice at work and to better understand my job role.

Plans for the future?
I am due to complete my apprenticeship this coming September. After that, I hope to be offered a full-time position working in a more senior role.

I am currently considering progressing my studies and applying for the BA in Business Management commencing in May 2021 at National College of Ireland.

What would you say to someone interested in doing the apprenticeship?
Go for it! I truly believe the stigma around apprenticeships has worn off and is becoming more and more popular and relevant in society today. Apprenticeships can offer so much more than a college degree enabling school leavers and mature students to gain a recognised qualification, industry experience and provide a salary. The exposure you get from this apprenticeship will help quickly develop your career progression. Therefore, I would encourage anyone interested in the apprenticeship to apply!