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BPS Birmingham Aspire Blog: An update from our Graduate Apprentice, Khumehra Mohammed

News Categories: aspire

When Jennie, Chair of the Talent Committee, told me it was time to write my first blog for the Graduate Apprentice, I was raring to go! Why? Because in the past three months I have developed and grown my professional service and networking skills beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

Let’s start from the beginning…

I first heard about the Graduate Apprentice scheme whilst looking for a new opportunity on completion of my internship at Deutsche Bank. I enjoyed banking but I wanted to see what else the professional services sector had to offer. After a short application form (trust me it’s short compared to a lot of other application forms out there), I received a call from Jennie asking to arrange a telephone interview which was a really great way for me to sell myself beyond the application form and find out more about the scheme. Two days later, I found out I was successful and was called to an interview. On the interview day I was asked to complete a short presentation followed by questions from the panel and then a group activity. The competition was fierce. Other candidates had very strong backgrounds so I gave it my best shot as I really wanted the opportunity. I went home – exhausted – and received a phone call from Jennie that afternoon telling me that I had “got the job”. I was so excited it felt like the summer wasn’t going to end waiting for my placements to begin.

1st Placement: IDEX Consulting Ltd

On 1 September I was welcomed by IDEX Consulting to complete my first four month placement. IDEX were fantastic, very efficient and set me up for my next four months right away. To ensure I got the experience and skills I wanted, I was exposed to three main business areas which allowed me to gain an understanding of Administration, Marketing and Sales. Working in recruitment is really fast-paced and already I cannot believe I am three months in, it was definitely not what I was expecting… It’s even better! During my time in the Administration team I formed foundations and the knowledge of what to look for in a candidate’s CV, how to use the company’s database and got to know the recruitment consultants. This helped me when I moved into the Marketing team where I was given my own projects such as producing industry targeted newsletters, completing a competitor analysis and organising social media posts to drive online engagement. Finally, I have moved into Sales where I have experienced a number of different things, from sourcing candidates and market mapping to learning the art of writing compelling job adverts.

Aspire Leadership Team

A crucial part of the Graduate Apprentice scheme is being part of the Leadership team under BPS. I was asked if I would like to be part of the Aspire Leadership team as my previous experience showed my passion to help those in education and develop skills in the professional services sector. This has been a very rewarding experience as it has allowed me to take responsibility and coordinate events for Aspire members.

My Top 5 Highlights So Far:

  • I had the pleasure of sitting next to Chair of BPS Birmingham and Chief Financial Officer at Wesleyan, Ahmed Farooq, in my first meeting with the Aspire Leadership team and was given positive feedback for my suggestions.
  • I received positive verbal and written feedback from the Sales team at IDEX when they heard my telephone skills in action and asked when I can be part of their team.
  • The Graduate Apprentice event made me feel extremely valued and recognised for my efforts and was a great way to network with other young professionals.
  • It was enjoyable feeling like Harry Potter in the wizarding community when members of BPS found out that I am this year’s Graduate Apprentice.
  • Being invited to Aston’s Patron’s Dinner and discussing ways to make Birmingham a great city to live in with Professor George Feiger (Dean of Aston Business School).

So that’s all from me for now, tune in for my next blog in early 2016 when I will be working for DBK. Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and a joyous new year.