Having graduated from University with a degree in Zoology, it’s safe to say I most definitely wasn’t planning a career in finance. Admittedly, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was I wanted but the natural starting point for me was looking at jobs and work experience in Zoology and Ecology, but nothing I came across seemed to ‘fit’. Yes, they aligned to the degree title but literally, that was it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the subject; I still do now, but none of the jobs I was looking at inspired any enthusiasm within me. I’m talking the burning-ambition-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach type!

So, as I waited for my dream job to present itself, I did what many other graduates do – went travelling! But even as I travelled, I still kept an eye on the jobs coming up on graduate career websites. It was there I noticed the advert for a Trainee Paraplanner at Para-Sols. I really liked the tone of the advert, I felt I could imagine the friendly faces behind it, and I also loved the sound of the job itself. Reading through the job spec I was surprised at just how many skills I had from my degree and that could actually be transferred into paraplanning – report writing, analysis, in-depth research etc. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I submitted my application but didn’t hold my breath – I assumed someone with a finance degree would get the job over me. I quickly learnt you should never assume!

I was surprised (and delighted) to get the job. I know now the fact they took a chance on me and brought me under their wing, is exactly what Para-Sols is about – they don’t pay lip-service to the company mantra of being innovative. Trying something (or someone) new and different really does come naturally to them.

Once I got started, thankfully for me, I realised the tone behind the advert lived up to my expectations of a friendly team. It’s a lovely relaxed working environment where it’s believed everyone has something to offer. Now in my second year, I’m well on my way to completing my Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning and can honestly say, I’ve loved learning a whole new subject. So, to anyone who thinks that their degree subject limits their future career path – if you see a job and you want it, grab the bull by the horns and go for it anyway, you might surprise yourself. I did.

Want to talk to Kate about her experience? Drop her a line
E: kate@para-sols.co.uk  T: 01325 281 969 W: www.thegradscheme.co.uk

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As an inexperienced graduate who knew they had a lot to offer, it was difficult getting past the ‘experience in……’ barrier. So probably like most, when I embarked on the whirlwind that is ‘job-hunting’ after Uni, my first port of call was looking into the many Graduate Programmes that were on offer. Not a fan of the longer-term structured job, I was struggling to find something that potentially didn’t put the reins on my learning and progression. When I came across the ad for Para-Sols and their Grad Scheme, I immediately wanted to learn more because it seemed like it was the answer to my job-search.

‘Accelerating at your own speed’ was definitely the main appeal as many other grad schemes, particularly big corporate schemes, have a defined process whereby you spend a given amount of time at a certain point regardless of your own progress. Obviously, there is a minimum level of progression that’s expected of you, but in general, The Grad Scheme offered me the freedom and flexibility to progress as much, and as fast, as I wanted.

In terms of the actual job, the variation in day-to-day work is what I enjoy the most. I know it’s literally the biggest work-based cliché but that won’t stop me saying no two days are the same! Plus, the at-ease atmosphere we all work in, the way we are all happy and able to support each other when it is needed really makes the job a pleasure. So much so, I’ve happily relocated from the original London office to the Darlington office (via Leeds) which really is testament to how much I love what I do!

The Grad Scheme allows you to show that if you’re willing to learn fast and apply yourself, experience really isn’t an issue. Fast forward 3-years later, I’m now out the other side of The Grad Scheme – I have completed my Diploma and am well on my way to achieving Chartered status! I started this journey as an inexperienced graduate with an interest in financial services, and yet today, I’m a fully qualified Paraplanner with a bright future of further progression ahead of me. If I had my time again, I’d do exactly the same thing!

Want to talk to Grant about his experience? Drop him a line
E: grant@para-sols.co.uk  T: 01325 281 969 W: www.thegradscheme.co.uk

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After studying Accounting & Finance at Uni, looking for a job in financial services came instinctively to me but, with a huge range of roles on offer, I wasn’t exactly sure what career I wanted to pursue. Personally, I was put off applying to any of the ‘big four’ as I had heard stories from other past students who had been on placement with them and to me, it sounded like they were treated like the ‘new kid’ for quite some time at the beginning – running errands and picking up menial tasks rather than actual on-the-job learning. I wanted to apply myself quickly whilst my knowledge was fresh. Plus, I have a lot of skills, but brewing a good cup of tea isn’t one of them!

When I came across the job advert for Para-Sols I had no clue what a Paraplanner was, it definitely wasn’t a term we covered in any of our modules. I did a little research and admittedly, still wasn’t entirely sure what it was, so was in two-minds as to whether or not to apply. Deciding to be bold by stepping into the unknown, I went ahead and put my application in because the company and the development opportunities was exactly what I was looking for. I’m now almost a year into the scheme and I’m so glad that I took the leap!

The thing I love most about my job the is just how different every day is. I’m working on new cases daily and learning all the time, with the support of a team, who’ve since became friends, who are genuinely always happy to help (cliché I know!). What I’ve already learnt about mortgages, pensions and investments is pretty incredible when I think back to who I was when I first started back in June 2016.

I’ve still got a way to go but knowing I have a bunch of colleagues who have my back is all the motivation I need to push on forward. Alongside my job, I’m currently studying for the tax exam (RO3) which I sit next month. Juggling work and exams can be a little challenging at times but studying for my Diploma in Financial Planning helps my understanding of cases and is at a speed that suits me. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by people who know how to let their hair down which always makes the hard days easier!

Want to talk to Rachael about her experience? Drop her a line
E: rachael@para-sols.co.uk  T: 01325 281 969 W: www.thegradscheme.co.uk

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After graduating from University with a degree in Accounting & Financial Management, I wasn’t exactly sure which career path I wanted to take. All my uni friends were looking to secure jobs in the city with the usual big accountancy firms, but although I didn’t know exactly what it was I wanted, I was certain on what I didn’t want and it was that. The typical ‘city life’ just didn’t appeal to me. Yes, I had the same ambition and wanted the same prospects but at somewhere smaller, more personal, as opposed to feeling like just another one of the hundreds/thousands of new recruits for the big accountancy firms.

So thankfully, I kept on looking and my ‘a-ha’ moment arrived when I stumbled across the Para-Sols graduate job ad online – I immediately liked what I saw. The whole ‘work hard, play hard’ ethos really stood out to me as I’m a firm believer that your job shouldn’t dictate your life. Granted it makes up an important part of it, but satisfaction for me comes in having a healthy work/life balance. Obviously, I still speak with my friends and every time I hear of the long hours they are told to work, it just reaffirms that I made the right decision.

I love how relaxed Para-Sols is. It may sound like a minor detail to others but being able to wear what I like each day without the expectation of the usual shirt and tie attire goes a long way to making the environment a relaxed one. More than that, I feel I’ve really been given the chance to use my initiative and love the responsibility of being trusted to manage my own workload. The beauty of this line of work is that every day is different, and the wide spectrum of cases that I deal with ensures that things are never dull.

I really feel that by working in a more personal environment, I’ve been able to interact with my colleagues a lot more than maybe what you would expect from other graduate jobs, which has massively helped my own development. Now in my second year, I’m aware that I’ve still got some way to go and will always have lots to learn (because learning should never stop!) but if people are looking for a career in financial services, I really couldn’t think of a better place to start.

Want to talk to Simon about his experience? Drop him a line
E: simon@para-sols.co.uk  T: 01325 281 969 W: www.thegradscheme.co.uk

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Take the Survey

As providers of paraplanning services across the UK, we understand the often complex relationship between advisers and compliance professionals. Priding ourselves on making the lives of finance professionals easier, we’re keen to further understand the current regulation landscape from your perspective and gain a collective industry perspective on how we all approach compliance.

We’re firm believers of learning from those directly involved and so, have designed a short survey to gather your opinions on the current regulation environment and to give us some insight into the industry’s current compliance regime. The responses of the survey will be synthesised and used as the basis of our upcoming Whitepaper which will be published in Spring 2017.

We really do value your opinion so should you be able to spare us just 5 minutes of your time (it’s not War & Peace we promise), we’d be grateful if you shared your thoughts with us. By way of thanks from us, we will enter you into our champagne prize draw and naturally, send you a copy of the final published report.

Click the button below to take part. All collated responses will remain strictly anonymous and used for market research purposes only.

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Those of you with elephant-like memories will recall us sending out a survey at the back of last year. We were interested in your opinions on receiving outsourcing support – whether it be industry related such as Paraplanning and Compliance, or more generic business functions such as HR and Marketing – and whether it was considered an integral part of your business’s operational and growth model.

Gathering feedback across the full industry, the results proved pretty insightful! It would seem that many of you (73% to be exact) are already realising the benefits of outsourced support and although that was refreshing to read, it would seem that there’s still many misconceptions surrounding outsourcing which are proving off-putting to those yet to dip their toe in the outsourcing pool.

Naturally, we’re outsourcing champions and so we took the insight as a challenge and set ourselves a goal to educate the world of business, not just financial services, to not only dispel the myths but to share our expertise on how to successfully forge a relationship with an outsourced supplier of any kind.

For any of you still considering taking the leap into the world of outsourcing (regardless of the business function), just drop us a line. We’ll happily share our words of wisdom on the art of getting others to do the work for you…

Take a read of the full report below (click the image) – including the full survey results and even a step-by-step guide to successful outsourcing.

Whitepaper Article