IFS Apprenticeship
IFS Apprenticeship

We caught up with Amundi Asset Managements Triona O'Healai for her input on the IFS Apprenticeship Programme

"IFS Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity to uncover some real talent that wouldn't always catch your attention."

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your company?

Of course - Amundi Asset Management is Europe’s largest Asset Manager in terms of assets under management; it’s in the Top 10 globally. Our Head Office is in Paris and we have offices in 29 countries around the world. In Dublin we have over 330 staff working across a whole range of functions from Investments, Information Technology, Operations and support functions such as Risk Management, Compliance, Finance, Human Resources, Legal and Audit. So I guess it’s pretty big!

I joined the company 15 years ago and although I’ve always worked in Human Resources, I’ve held various roles supporting different aspects of the business. I’ve been really lucky too to have had the opportunity to travel to most continents as part of the job, working as part of a very busy global HR team.

We have over 32 nationalities in Dublin which makes our team very culturally diverse.

How did you first come across the apprenticeship program and how did you get involved?

Amundi has a great tradition of providing internships/apprenticeships to help get people started in a career in Financial Services. We work closely with IBEC – they invited us to a briefing on the programme a few years back and we were delighted to take part.

In practice, how has the program worked from your perspective as an employer? What have been the benefits?

It has worked out really well! We’ve found that the apprenticeship programme has provided high calibre people who are really motivated to succeed. They are serious about a career in financial services and have been a great fit since they joined us. They have to work hard to balance their studies with their day to day training & development but our first group have passed their exams with flying colours. The 2 year duration of the programme means that both parties have to be fully committed to it and I believe this gives it real value to everyone. We would hope to be in a position to recruit many of them as soon as they complete the programme.

If I was to summarise the benefits for us, I’d say…

A great way for us to partner with the community in providing training/job opportunities.

It provides us with an excellent talent pipeline and allows us to build strong skills for the future.

The programme adds to the diversity in the company with a diverse profile of candidates.

In effect it’s a cost-effective recruitment strategy which allows us to have fully trained resources available to fill open positions when they arise.

The apprentices are paired with a mentor which works for both parties. Mentors develop their coaching/mentoring skills.

What skills gap do the Apprenticeships fill?

The apprentices come from diverse backgrounds and the specialists bring experience from other industries. Because they don’t necessarily have financial services experience, some may think it puts them on the back foot, but they arrive with worthwhile experience across a variety of disciplines; IT, Marketing, Customer Service etc and some just have the right attitude to learning which is invaluable.

How do the apprentices find it?

The feedback from the apprentices has been very positive but maybe you should ask them directly!

What have been the key takeaways /learning experiences for you?

We’ve decided to create an ‘apprentice community’ to enable the apprentices to support each other with their studies and work. It occurred organically in the first year but this year we will have some initiatives to bring more structure to it. We will also pair last years’ intake with our newer apprentices to help them navigate the organisation and manage any challenges they may face.

What would you say to a company thinking about taking part in the program?

Don’t hesitate, just do it. It is a fantastic opportunity to uncover some real talent that wouldn’t always catch your attention. There is often a perception that if they don’t have relevant experience, they are not suitable. It is sometimes the ‘not-so-relevant experience’ that proves invaluable.