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  • Role: Graduate Trainee
  • Location: Sheffield
  • University: Sheffield
  • Degree: Politics and Russian

Megan Green

I studied Russian and Politics at the University of Sheffield before starting on the Capita Hartshead Graduate Scheme. The scheme involves a series of rotational placements throughout the business, which helps you to gain a full understanding of what each department does, and how it contributes to the success of the company. I worked in the marketing department from January to February 2012.

What does Capita Hartshead do?

Capita Hartshead is the leading provider of pensions administration in the UK and Ireland. Their graduate scheme gives you the opportunity to work in several departments including the following:

  •  Pensions Operations
  •  Sales and Marketing
  •  Technical
  •  Implementation.

Whilst moving around these departments you will be studying for the PMI qualification.

The sales & marketing department’s ultimate goal is to win new business for Capita Hartshead, within both the private and the public sector.

How did you get your job at Capita Hartshead?

I first saw the Capita Hartshead Graduate Scheme advertised on the Graduate Yorkshire website. I thought it would provide me with great opportunities for future career development and a chance to gain professional qualifications. Also I wanted to remain living in Sheffield after university, so the position being based in Sheffield was perfect for me. The process was simple and straightforward – an application form, a telephone interview, an assessment day and then finally an interview with a director.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The scheme as a whole is very enjoyable as I can move around the business and gain full understanding of the culture and company. In addition to this, there is the social aspect of starting with a group of graduates. The marketing placement demonstrates the dynamic environment, where work isn’t repetitive and you have to think on your feet. I offered my ideas on how to promote Capita Hartshead and the brand. Throughout my time in marketing, I gained a lot of experience in an area I had previously not experienced or considered working in.

My future

I’m looking at becoming fully ADRP qualified. I sat my first two exams in April this year; I will sit another in October. My plan from then on, is to work my way up to a senior/management position, becoming a valued and respected employee and team member. I would like my future role to provide me with variety and challenges.

My advice

Working in pensions can be fun; there are many different roles in the industry and you’re sure to find one that suits you! It’s not just about day to day administration of the pension schemes. Be open-minded about new ideas and career paths you have not previously thought about. You don’t have to come from a numerical or business background to work within this company. My degree in Russian attests to this!

The application process…

Although the structure was simple, I did find the application process tough. I started off with the application form. This included the general information about me and my education, work experience, what I was looking for and what sets me apart from everyone else.

The telephone interview was conducted by the Resourcing Business Executive at Capita Hartshead. The whole interview lasted about 20-25 minutes and the main focus was on competency questions and company knowledge.

My assessment day consisted of an hour long interview with two of the sponsoring directors, a business challenge exercise, a group task where you have to demonstrate you can work as part of a team, and both verbal and numerical psychometric tests. The day runs from 9-5 and is quite full on. You also get the chance to meet graduates from previous years and take a tour of the office.

My challenges and what I did to overcome them

What I found difficult about being on the placement was moving around quite regularly. After spending a few weeks with one team, you begin to feel comfortable and before you know it, you’re moving on again. They do say time flies when you’re having fun! In addition to this, combining your work as well as your study for the PMI exams can sometimes lead to long days. Stay positive and prioritise your commitments to ensure you put the best into your work and get the best out of your exams.

As I had never experienced work inside a marketing department, I was a bit sceptical as to whether it would suit me or not. However I was made to feel very comfortable by the team and my tasks were explained well to me. If I was unsure of anything I would ask. It’s important to stay motivated and not to give in if you find something challenging.

Soft Skills

As the marketing team is relatively small, with just five members of staff, it is easy to build a working relationship with each individual. Verbal communication is very significant – not just with your team, but with everyone. Working in marketing opens you up to all the staff within the company and the clients that help keep it running. Furthermore, written communication is vital. You will use this skill when doing tasks such as:

• Composing an article
• Composing emails to staff and clients
• Creating work instructions that can easily be read by all
• Advertising a corporate event to staff
• Advertising a hospitality event to clients.

Learning to adapt your writing technique to suit your audience is crucial for success.

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