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An apprentice’s journey: Callum Rickards

21 May
At DST, our apprentices can go on to do amazing things. The work-based schemes have had more than 800 graduates since their launch in 2013, and we’re just getting started.

Client Services Complaints Associate, Callum Rickards, joined the apprenticeship programme after completing A-levels at sixth form, and he hasn’t looked back. He spoke to us about his journey so far:

What made you decide to do an apprenticeship at DST?

“As I was finishing up with school, I was evaluating my next steps and deciding whether university or an apprenticeship was right for me. I was actually applying for universities but decided that as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in my career, I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket and work towards something where I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of it – aside from a massive loan!

I looked at apprenticeships and a friend directed me towards DST. I knew an apprenticeship would give me qualifications, a proper job and real industry experience, and as I’d done business and economics at A-level I thought it would be good to go into an industry where I could put these skills to use. Financial services seemed to be a good fit, and I am so pleased I pursued it – earning while I learn and building a career platform has been the best choice for me.

I initially interviewed for another apprenticeship scheme within DST first, and while I didn’t get that one, I looked at the other level-three schemes available and applied for the apprenticeship in Complaints Department. I started my training in October 2017, and after completing the training and academy inductions, officially started my 18-month apprenticeship in December 2017.”

What have you learnt so far?

“Six months on, I’ve realised doing an apprenticeship was the best decision for me. I’ve learnt so much about DST and what it’s like working in the real world, and am currently working towards my IOC qualification to help further my career. Being able to apply what I’ve learnt on the job immediately has been invaluable – in a university setting, you might not be able to use what you’ve learnt for years until you get out into the industry, whereas the DST apprenticeship model means you learn as you work.

The scheme is great as it teaches you a lot about DST as a business, as well as the broader industry. I spent a month within the academy team in the Complaints department, where I was introduced to the work I’m doing now – receiving and resolving complaints. I learnt about different software systems, how calls are logged and the best ways to approach different situations. From there, I joined my team where I sit with colleagues as they deal with resolved and unresolved complaints.

One of the biggest impacts the apprenticeship has had is on my confidence. Going straight into the work environment from school was daunting, as it was a completely new company and industry, with new people to meet and work with. However, I’ve relished the opportunity to try something new and put myself out there, and dealing with complaints certainly helps to build confidence. My communication skills have come a long way and the training and support here have shown me that complaint resolution isn’t as daunting as it can seem.

Another achievement has been learning to deal with the workloads. While it might seem like a small win, stepping into such a big company did make me wonder about what the expectations of me would be. My manager has been really communicative and is happy with my progress. I came in not knowing the basics of investments and now I can understand complaints and work through my allocation happily.

What is the support like?

“DST has been very supportive when it comes to my development. There’s one-to-one training, reviews and constant feedback throughout the whole process, and I haven’t felt rushed or like I’m not ready to move onto the next thing. I’m confident to speak to my team mates and manager to ask for help, and feel like no one is too busy to approach. As a young person joining a large corporate company, it’s natural to feel apprehensive, but I feel really comfortable at DST and particularly enjoy the social activities that come with the job, from competitions and dress up days through to sports matches. I haven’t felt disadvantaged as a younger, less experienced person – I’m part of the DST family.”

What’s next for you?

“Ultimately, I’d love to progress from my apprenticeship and stay within the company. I’m really enjoying working within the Complaints Department so would like to either stay here or venture elsewhere within DST to see how other departments work. My IOC qualification means I’ll hopefully be able to put myself forward as a team manager and leader further down the line, and it is also recognised within the wider industry. I’d recommend anyone considering an apprenticeship to give it a shot – DST has such a wide range of roles you can move into down the line, and the apprenticeships give you a great base of skills and qualifications which you can take with you in the business.”

Are you interested in an apprenticeship at DST? We could have the perfect option for you. Take a look at our apprenticeship schemes to find out more.
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