Investment 2020 trainees

"Since joining, I now feel like I am truly starting my working career. It’s one I am enjoying and feel like I have a positive future." Matthew Sanderson, I2020 Trainee

Invest in your future

We invest for a better future. We do this for our customers and clients. We also believe it’s just as important to invest in our employees’ future too.

Moving into a new sector is a unique experience. Working for one of the world’s largest Investment companies is challenging. We understand that and provide support along the way.

You may not have any work experience or investments experience. You don’t need it for this programme. Our focus is on finding those with the right attitude and values who are willing to learn.

Read the below stories & watch the video to hear from some of our Investment 2020 Trainees who have been in the same position as you.

Jack Headshot
Jack Thomson
Investments Trainee

What were you doing before joining Standard Life Investments?

I graduated from university with first-class Honours in Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services. After graduation, I almost immediately began working at State Street as a fund analyst. It was an entry-level position, which gave me the opportunity to work in investments and build my knowledge of asset management. It was this knowledge and a desire to continue in asset management that fuelled my application to work at Standard Life Investments.

Why did you choose to join Standard Life Investments?

Whilst working at State Street, I heard more and more about Standard Life Investments: the positive culture and feedback from former colleagues who left State Street to join Standard Life Investments. My decision to work at Standard Life Investments came from both the opportunity being offered (I2020 Trainee Scheme) and my positive attitude towards the businesses heritage in Edinburgh and its culture. Even when I was at Uni, my goal was to join a large multinational organisation and take up the opportunities to move around the organisation, as well as the potential to travel and even relocate.

What was the biggest challenge adapting to work after leaving university?

Because I have worked since I was in high school – and continued working through Uni – it wasn’t a big challenge for me. I was used to full-day schedules, and busy working weeks. As well as that, I also spent the summers between terms working full time doing office work in financial organisations too. I do appreciate the need to adapt from the academic life to work life. For me, the main differences include the trust placed in you to do your role effectively, the emphasis on individual performance, and prioritising tasks to meet deadlines.

How has working here benefitted you personally?

I now feel that I have properly begun my career and can look toward the future. Standard Life Investments has a positive culture of supporting young talent, and provides the platform for them to succeed. I have taken advantage of this through continuous learning to advance my knowledge of investments and the financial sector. I’m also planning to study for industry-recognised investment exams, which will aid in both my practical and academic knowledge and in getting roles in the future.

What are you most proud of since you started working here?

How quickly I have adapted to the role and the feedback I have received from both colleagues and my managers. I work in the Investment Restriction Control team, which is a complex and high-risk area. Even with my previous experience at State Street, it was still a big challenge beginning work in a completely new area. From this, I was proud to receive positive feedback from my manager saying I had adapted incredibly quickly and in a professional manner to become a vital member of the team. I owned the tasks assigned to me and took on the responsibility to complete them.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of working at Standard Life Investments?

For any individuals thinking about college or Uni after school, I would highly recommend I2020 as an alternative to further education. I believe the culture at Standard Life Investments is one of the most positive you could hope to find. Especially for school leavers and graduates due to the focus given to young talent and the resources provided to aid in career development. The company also offers a large variety of positions and opportunities that are perfectly suited for individuals with low to no experience in the industry, but with the talent and desire to learn and grow.

Would you recommend working at Standard Life Investments to friends? Why?

I have had an incredible experience so far. The constant support, the learning resources available, and the positive culture all make the experience a great one. The company focuses on being collaborative, with everyone working together to succeed. In fact, I’ve already advised several friends to apply for summer internships and the graduate scheme, as well as sending job vacancies onto my former colleagues.

What have been your biggest learning / development points so far?

First, and most importantly, I have been provided the opportunity to further my education in all the different aspects of asset management. My role is in what’s called the “front office”, which is an environment with a significant focus on the investment process. My learning has come from various resources, such as online learning, classroom sessions, as well as textbooks, which are aiding me with individual study towards my investment exams. Second, a significant development point came from doing the Gallup Strength finder, an in-depth resource designed to show me what my top strengths – and areas of weakness – were. By going through this, I am able to leverage my strengths and address any weak areas.

Kyle Headshot
Kyle Hogg
Investments Trainee

What were you doing before you joined Standard Life Investments?

I left school at the end of my sixth year and got a full-time job working as a sports development apprentice for Edinburgh Council. I moved to Alabama in the USA for a year on a football scholarship and studied marketing. I returned to the UK and got a job at Edinburgh Airport for a few months as a baggage handler. I felt at the time I was stuck between going back to University or finding a job that would give me a career. As I was searching for jobs, I came across the opportunity to become a trainee in Standard Life Investment on their I2020 programme. I now look back and appreciate how much the programme has allowed me to progress in my career and I am extremely grateful for what it has done for me both personally and professionally.

What was the biggest challenge adapting to work after leaving school?

Adapting to an office environment, especially coming from a sports background. The learning curve started on day one and the expectations were set high. I knew that I had to adapt very quickly and learn how to become versatile, but the support available has been second to none. I can always ask questions and I never feel like I have no one to go to.

What are you most proud of since you started working here?

I relish meeting new people every day and having the opportunity to network with a diverse spread of colleagues across the company. I feel that I have done a good job at mapping out who my key stakeholders are and have created some strong business relationships too. I am extremely enthusiastic when it comes to assisting my peers and am given a lot of responsibility across all areas within my department. One of my most proud achievements was helping organise a series of high profile corporate events and our Early Careers Fairs. Seeing all of this fall in to place was extremely rewarding and my confidence grew throughout.

How has Standard Life Investments benefited you personally?

The opportunity to learn every day whilst working and earning money is one that I will appreciate and cherish for the rest of my life. Not only do I learn how to work efficiently, I have also met a group of trainees that I can proudly say are my close friends. Coming in to work every day and having that support has allowed me to build on my interpersonal and professional skills.

How did you feel in the lead up to joining compared to now?

I never really knew what to expect and I was anxious at the fact I had never worked in an office before. I had very little Investment or HR knowledge so I knew it was going to be a big challenge for me. Once I got in to the swing of things I began learning bit by bit, day by day and was supported well by my teammates. Over time, I have become a lot more confident in vital areas like effective communication, organisation and stakeholder management. I feel that these skills will help build the foundation for a successful career.

What has been the most surprising thing since starting work in a financial services company?

I’ve not met one person who’s not been willing to help me. Everyone is extremely open when it comes to helping you develop and learn and, if you need something from someone, they will always take the time out to talk to you or show you how to do something. It’s a very inclusive culture here at SLI and people are always willing to lend a helping hand.

Matthew Headshot
Matthew Sanderson
Investments Trainee

What were you doing before joining Standard Life Investments?

I was working in a different part of Standard Life – a telephony team called the “Partner Contact Centre”. I took calls from customers, employers and independent financial advisors, as well as Standard Life colleagues too.

After nine months, I decided to make the move and join the investments arm of the company. During my time in the telephony team, I became interested in how we manage our assets under administration and this was something I wanted to gain more knowledge on. So I decided to apply for Standard Life Investments’ Investment 2020.

Why did you choose to join Standard Life Investments following college / university?

I did an HND in Fitness, Health and Exercise at Edinburgh College before working at Standard Life. I joined because I had heard good things about the company from peers, friends and family. I quickly found out how good the culture of the company is. During my time in the telephony team, I heard a lot about SLI and how they operate. I spoke to a few people I knew who worked there and heard only good things. So when the Investment 2020 program came up, I jumped at the opportunity!

What was the biggest challenge adapting to work after leaving college?

Since I started part time employment at the age of 14 (working as a dishwasher in a hotel), and I have continued to work part time throughout my education I didn’t find it much of a challenge adapting to full time work. When I was at college, I was used to having a full day of lectures and working on my days off so I didn’t fine changing this to working 5 days a week challenging. During summer and Christmas time I also worked full time hours (sometimes 6 day weeks) s o I was used to working full time. The main difference I have experienced though is you are treated like an adult in a working environment, especially at SLI, and you can feel a real difference in the way people talk to you when working here, especially compared to how I was talked to at college.

Marketing graduate How has working at Standard Life (Investments) benefitted you personally?

Since joining, I now feel like I have truly starting my working career, it is one I am enjoying and feel like I have a positive future with! The company has a good working culture and really help you improve yourself and reach your potential. The company give you loads of opportunities to do learning courses (both internal and external) which help you develop to become as professional as you can be. There are options to go to talks and conferences hosted by all sorts of people, ranging from CEO’s to platform managers, this gave me a real feeling of belonging and they want me to progress and stay in the company.

What are you most proud of singe you started working at Standard Life investments?

I am proud of how confident I have become since I started working here. I am now able to hold a conversation comfortably with anyone and not struggle to think of something to say. Since working at SLI I am constantly receiving good feedback from peers, be that my manager, college or family members. I think this has helped me progress as I now feel I am able to present myself positively and professionally. I am also proud of how much my ability has improved to work under pressure. Since I am working as a dealing analyst I am dealing with large sums of monies on a daily basis, in an environment where there is no room for error. I work to a 1pm cut-off time every day and I am able to ensure my work is done on time and to a high standard of quality.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of working here?

If anyone about to leave education is considering getting a career at SLI I would highly encourage it. There’s a genuine positive culture at the company and, even if you are young and just out of education, you will always be treated and talked to with respect, no matter your age, qualifications or background.

For school/college/university leavers, they place large emphasis on keeping and progressing young talent and the company will do everything it can do ensure you keep doing so. As mentioned previously there are constantly overviews and talks you can attend to give you a wider understanding of SLI and there is really no limit to what you can achieve. Personally, I believe getting a job at SLI is one of the best things a young professional could do. After college, I really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but since joining I know I want to stay with the company for the majority of my career.

Megan Headshot
Megan Bain
Investments Trainee

What were you doing before joining Standard Life Investments?

I left school at the beginning of my sixth year as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to university, but I did feel that getting some work experience would benefit me.

Whilst at school I was involved in a programme called Career Ready , which provided me with regular development opportunities, a mentor, masterclasses and four weeks of work experience at the Scottish Qualifications Authority during my summer break.

Why did you choose to start working instead of further education?

I felt the trainee programme would provide me with an excellent platform and experience to begin my career path. I also felt it would offer excellent opportunities due to the size and diversity of the company.

Right now I am working towards a digital marketing and leadership qualification called “Google Squared”. I think this is a great way to further my education whilst working full time too.

What was the biggest challenge adapting to work after leaving school?

Taking responsibility each and every day.

I feel this has helped me to grow and to become more confident in my own abilities. To begin with, I did find things difficult: adjusting and learning all of the business processes and things like that. But my team supported me and my manager puts time in with me each week to go over anything I need help with. My team have been great helping me adapt to the working world and helping me to develop and take on more responsibility.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of working at Standard Life?

Grasp every opportunity provided to you on the traineeship. Go to all the development classes, meetings and networking events to better your communication skills and overall understanding of the company.

Be confident and willing to ask questions. Don’t shy away from problems, because that way you won’t learn and grow. Be enthusiastic and willing to learn every day when you come into work to get the best out of your traineeship.

Don’t feel because you don’t have a degree you are any of less value to your team, you can add value in your own way by feeding your personality into the team and bringing in new ideas. Not having a degree doesn’t make you any less smart, it just means you were keen to start your career early and to see all the opportunities available to you.

Overall, enjoy your experience with Standard Life Investments, because it can lead you onto a pathway to future career success.

Would you recommend working at Standard Life Investments to friends? Why?

I would recommend working here as I feel the company provides great opportunities for young people just out of school. There’s a whole network of help: buddies, mentors, networking events and development opportunities designed to make the jump to working life straightforward.

The team-based culture of the organisation provides an excellent social aspect and makes you feel more comfortable too.

Many young people don’t consider coming into a financial services company at a young age but I feel the opportunities I’ve had so far are amazing and can provide you with an excellent introduction to working life.

How did you feel in the lead up to joining compared to now?

Before joining, I felt very nervous to leave school and start my career at such a young age. I felt that I might not compare to other trainees coming into the programme with years of work experience and/or further education qualifications!

However I soon learnt that my enthusiasm and willingness to learn was just as valuable, and that I am more than capable to carry out a full-time role.

I feel enthusiastic and proud of my development in my role so far and also how my knowledge has grown. I feel extremely lucky to have this opportunity as it has made me into the confident individual I am today.

Before joining I could never have imagined myself participating in meetings, attending events and talking to external clients but I have done all of these things and more! I now feel excited about what the future has to hold for me as I know with my experience and self-development within this organisation it’s going to be a bright one!

“I feel excited about what the future has to hold for me as I know, with my experience and self development within this organisation, it's going to be a bright one!”
Megan Bain I2020 Trainee
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