Blog Image

As 2017 draws to a close, we figured it was as good a time as any for a bit of reflection on the year that’s passed us by in what feels like the blink of an eye…

It’s been a pivotal and record-breaking year for us – a real turning point for Para-Sols as we moved into our next stage of growth as a company – and the success of The Grad Scheme certainly played its part in all that we’ve achieved.

Successfully recruiting our first graduate position way back in 2013 proved to be the inspiration for creating our own graduate training programme. After a number of other successful appointments over the following years, we formalised our training programme and “The Grad Scheme” was relaunched as its own brand in March 2017 and is a core element of our Five Year Plan growth strategy.

This year we’ve invested a huge amount of time and resource into creating a scalable infrastructure, one that also retains our world-class quality, meaning we’ve been busy formalising our training framework, launched a number of learning and development initiatives internally and restructured / recruited new roles to manage mentoring, operations and quality. With all of this now embedded, we expect The Grad Scheme to go from strength to strength and have our first recruitment day booked in for April 2018.

There will be a further three recruitment drives taking place next year, and as it was this year, our main aim is to find individuals with the right attitude, rather than the knowledge, meaning we have no set number of places available. We’re passionate about building the company with hard working motivated individuals and in return, offer a personalised career path which they can take ownership of and allow their ambitions to drive it forward.

This year’s new starters have worked incredibly hard to listen and learn, have embraced the Para-Sols way, made a start on their Diploma in Financial Planning and generally all progressed through their training program at an incredible pace.

Special achievements this year…

After working his way through his qualifications and building his own team, our first ever grad (back in 2013), Grant, has recently been promoted to Head of Paraplanning and is an integral member of the team.

As one of the first to join us this year, Holly, won ‘Best Newcomer of the Year’ at our annual Staff Awards which recognises hard work and personal achievement as well as commitment to the company.

As with any change, it’s been a learning curve and not without its challenges but as 2017 closes, we’re breathing a huge sigh of relief, giving ourselves a big pat on the back as the bulk of the hard-work is now complete and shift our focus to reenergising ourselves ready for another momentous year next year. We’ll drink to that… cheers!

You can read more about our new starters on the ‘meet the team’ page of the Para-Sols website. More information on recruitment for 2018 is available at www.thegradscheme.co.uk.

Photo – back, from left to right: Holly, Matthew, Lee, Sam and Sunaina.
Photo – seated, from left to right: Sophie and Alex

 

 

What better way to round off Para-Sols incredible year of growth than squeezing in just one last member of staff!  Whilst we’ve had a great year expanding our Trainee Paraplanners, the Technical Research team has been given a life of it’s own too.  So to help strengthen the existing team we are pleased to welcome Hannah as our final hire of 2017.  Hannah has come to us from a background in finance solutions and has fit seamlessly in to the team.  She tells us her impressions so far…

What’s been your first impressions of Para-Sols?

My first impressions were how friendly the office environment is and I really appreciated how organised everything was for me on my first day starting, I had a Mac set up waiting for me with everything installed and set up ready to go! Everyone is really helpful, even when everyone has a lot of work to do people are happy to answer all of my ‘newbie’ queries. I like how the company is growing and forward thinking therefore everyone’s opinions are valued, it doesn’t matter what your role is or how long you have been there. I particularly enjoyed the Christmas party, which was at the end of my first week here – it was certainly a good ice-breaker, so by my second week I felt fully at home in my new role.

What have you learnt so far?

I feel like I have learnt such a lot in a small period of time. I’ve had various spells of financial services experience before working here however not in pensions so I have learnt a great deal about specifics of defined benefit pension schemes and their complexities. As other new starters before me I have also had to get used to using a Mac which I am really enjoying and may end up wanting my own!

What are you most looking forward to?

I’ve started on the pensions side of things, but I am looking forward to learning about different financial products as and eventually getting some qualifications under my belt. I enjoy keeping busy at work, and because we have been so busy recently the days just really do fly by! I am also excited for the new year to do some more training, keep learning and when we expand the Technical Research team even further, I won’t be the newbie anymore and can help others too.

To find out more about Hannah you can also head over to her profile on our Meet the Team page.

We’re not entirely sure where the last month or two has gone so as the end of the year fast approaches, we’ve stopped, took a breath and realised we have yet to formally introduce our final cohort of this years graduate training programme (The Grad Scheme). Everybody, say hello to Sophie, Alex and Matthew (more affectionately named Mash!). We held an Assessment Day back at the end of September with 10 fresh-faced graduates wanting to join the Para-Sols tribe but there was three stand-out personalities that took the spotlight that day and made the decision an easy one for the management team.

They started with us mid-October at what was, and still is, an exciting but pretty chaotic time and were well and truly thrown in the deep end. Fast forward 6 weeks and thankfully for us, they’re proving to be strong swimmers!

As is the norm when new grads join us, they’ve shared their first impressions with us so pop the kettle on, take a read below and be sure to check them out on our Meet the Team area too where you’ll find out a little bit more about each of them…