Katherine Smith a property finance ASPIRE trainee

ASPIRE Trainee (class of 2013)

Location: London
Business: Close Brothers Property Finance

Having completed two years on the ASPIRE programme I am now based in our head office in London, working in the Property business department as a Lending Assistant. This role involves attending site visits, reading surveyor’s monthly reports and dealing with a variety of portfolios; processing payments, instructing professionals and answering any queries our clients may have.

Alongside my new role, I am also undertaking a Professional Certificate in Banking with the Institute of Financial Services which was the recommended qualification for us on the programme, and which I hope to complete shortly. From here I plan to continue studying, with the support of Close Brothers, and gain a full degree in Banking Practice and Management.

I have really enjoyed the programme so far and am looking forward to progressing with my studies and taking on more responsibility within Property Finance.

Igor Pankratov an asset finance ASPIRE trainee

ASPIRE Trainee (class of 2013)

Location: Sidcup branch
Business: Close Brothers Asset Finance

Being on the ASPIRE Programme is similar in principal to a graduate scheme however, you will begin three years earlier without the burden of debts which typically come with larger tuition fees often charged. It gets your "foot in the door" whilst giving a comprehensive overview of the financial services industry.

The programme has opened up many career routes and as a result, I have settled into a full time role I would have never known about before ASPIRE. Your journey will be within a company where everybody is valued equally. You will be given the same tasks and responsibilities as other experienced professionals accelerating your rate of development.

Close Brothers are also very supportive of my future goals, encouraging continuous professional development. I have now begun the next stage in my career after being selected for the newly established Close Brothers Training Academy and will look to advance to the role of an Area Sales Manager over the next few months.

Harry Crossley an invoice finance ASPIRE trainee

ASPIRE Trainee (class of 2014)

Location: Brighton and Hove
Business: Close Brothers Invoice Finance

Currently, I am working in the Invoice Finance business area in Brighton. Previously before this I was based within the Leasing business in Manchester. Originally I am from Blackburn in Lancashire which as most of you will know, is a few hundred miles away from Brighton and a significant distance from Manchester! This programme not only gave me the opportunity to learn about the Corporate environment and gain a credible qualification, it has in fact helped me mature and provided a sense of freedom which wouldn’t of been achieved in many other career paths. You have that university lifestyle of moving away from home, whilst knowing you are working for a FTSE 250 business with fantastic career prospects – Some would say the best of the both worlds!

If you are lucky enough to be considered for the programme, it really is an incredible opportunity. Good luck with the application process and hopefully see you soon!

Ryan Coughlan an asset finance ASPIRE trainee

ASPIRE Trainee (class of 2014)

Location: Sidcup branch
Business: Close Brothers Asset Finance

I chose Close Brothers because of their reputation and the genuine welcome I received at an open evening event at their head office in London. I met a variety of people and they took an interest in me as a person before I even had the job; this made me feel very valued and inspired.

I have since had the magnificent experience of working with various teams within the Premium Finance business area which includes Finance, Credit, Customer Services and Sales. My second year on the programme has been spent in the Asset Finance, Print business based in Sidcup. Within this rotation Close Brothers have helped and supported me in succeeding down the sales route within the business, as this was my preferred choice of direction within the company.

I have now had the amazing opportunity of starting the Close Brothers Training Academy, which begins in September 2015. This will act as the perfect stepping stone towards achieving my future career goals where I will be a Trainee Area Sales Manager, going through an initial nine months of training on how to build my client base, creating a business plan and becoming a polished sales representative. Eventually after two years of working under experienced personnel, the plan is to develop to become a full Area Sales Manager. This is just another example whereby Close Brothers have invested time, money and faith in me to progress my career. I feel not only a sense of direction, but also feel that the ASPIRE Programme provided the perfect building blocks into becoming an influential and well presented individual.

If I could give any tips to candidates thinking of applying for the programme it would be: to be honest, show your passion, relax, but most importantly, be yourself!

Danielle Davies an asset finance ASPIRE trainee

ASPIRE Trainee (class of 2014)

Location: Sidcup branch
Business: Close Brothers Asset Finance

I started the ASPIRE Programme in the Motor Finance business area based in Doncaster. Based at the large head office, I had the chance to work in multiple departments and roles. This gave me a fantastic opportunity to start developing my knowledge on the financial industry. There is the chance to experience so much from working in Operations to Accounts and even Sales which is a great way to get a sense of direction for the future.

I am now currently working in the Burton branch of Close Brothers Asset Finance. This business within the bank comes under the Commercial sector dealing with mainly companies and high net worth individuals. So far my experience has been invaluable being able to work alongside experts within their field. I am more than excited for my next six months to keep growing my skills and experience.

One of the great things about being on the ASPIRE Programme is that even though you may not be working in the head office in London they still provide a huge amount of support with emails and phone calls in addition to regular training and social days. Simply due to the personal development training provided I am now far more confident and positive than when I began. Also, because of the regular meetings you develop a good relationship with other colleges on the ASPIRE Programme.

To anyone looking to apply for the ASPIRE Programme; my first bit of advice would be go for it! If you are willing to work hard you will gain priceless knowledge and experience that will benefit your future career.