Fintech Apprenticeship

Inside look at Morgan Lyons journey as an apprentice at Tandem Bank

Meet the Data Administrator: Morgan Lyons

Morgan Lyons

I'm Morgan, I'm 20, and I was lucky enough to start my career working at Tandem. Before I was offered the opportunity to interview with Tandem, I'd never heard of Fintech and I never dreamed I would work in a bank, now I can't imagine beginning my career anywhere else. I joined Tandem as the Marketing Apprentice in 2017 and have since moved into the Data Analytics team where, as a data-driven company, I get the chance to see the heart of Tandem.

Tandem are huge advocates for apprenticeships. There is an apprenticeship in nearly every team, and we rehire a new group every year. I had previously strived towards attending the best universities in the UK, before discovering the potential of an apprenticeship and realising that I'd learn much quicker if I was thrown into the working environment. I'm so glad I changed my direction, working at Tandem has offered me opportunities most 20-year olds won't see for years and I get to see the impact of my work every day.

I worked hard for the best grades possible in my GCSEs. I achieved high grades across the board but ultimately felt unfulfilled with the list of letters on the page. Once I got to my A levels, I realised that I'd completely lost my passion for academic study and had no interest in university. I always thought that university was the only path and that if I didn't have a degree, I'd have failed somehow.

I had never considered an apprenticeship, I fell victim to the stigma that surrounds them and believed that I needed a degree to prove my worth. When a friend of mine had recently got a job in London at a big investment bank, it opened my eyes to the prospect of starting a great career without a degree. I started applying for a range of apprenticeships and Tandem was recommended to me as a great place to work, filled with inspiring people that would help me grow. At first, I didn't think it would be for me. I didn't want to be a "banker" or work somewhere in a formal environment. I quickly realised it wasn't anything like that when I was welcomed to my interview by a casual, passionate team. The office felt more like home than anywhere else I'd seen, and the Tandem team were filled with energy and drive to build a bank. The culture at Tandem is vital to us, we're continually striving to make sure we have a happy work environment whether that's arranging big social events or ensuring there's a milk variation to suit everyone's needs. No suggestion is too big or too small.

In my apprenticeship, I started out supporting the digital marketing team with campaigns and projects. While I knew that this company was for me, I wasn't sure if my passion was really in marketing. What I did enjoy was looking at data and managing projects, this passion was quickly noticed by Rob, the Head of Data Services and Analytics in Technology and he helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do and how to get there. Luckily, all teams are very collaborative, so the process of moving to another team was smooth, and I was supported as I turned my skills to a new specialism. I was so grateful for the support and even happier that I hadn't spent three years studying a degree in marketing to then find out I did not enjoy it in practice.

Once I'd found my passion for data analytics, I was helped by the rest of the team to find my place. Now I'm responsible for analysing data, putting together reports to support the product teams and ensuring that Tandem's data is managed securely. I have a lot more responsibility in a start-up than I would have had in a larger company, which is an exciting challenge. My apprenticeship has allowed me to develop my leadership skills, I've become a better communicator, and I am more confident when putting forward my ideas to people of all levels of seniority. I know that my opinions will be listened to in Tandem. I have also learned how to code and use data software, which is something I never thought I'd be doing. I was never mathematically minded, but now I'm a confident coder, which is a skill that I can use in many fields.

Tips to make the most of an apprenticeship:

If someone told me they were considering an apprenticeship for the first time I would tell them to do their research. There are a lot of apprenticeships out there, but I think if I'd gone for the first one that came along, I wouldn't be as happy as I am right now. It's easy to get wrapped up in thinking that the University is your only option and, although it's an excellent path for developing skills, it's not the only one available to you.

Schools, colleges and parents need to place more emphasis on the value of an apprenticeship. In many countries, such as Germany, apprenticeships are valued much more and they have consistently excellent results. I think it's time the UK caught up and Tandem are doing a great job at leading the charge.

When you do decide to go for an apprenticeship, remember that it's hard work. Studying and working full-time is a constant balancing act so you should be prepared for that. Go into your apprenticeship with an open mind and a willingness to learn and you'll see so many opportunities coming your way.

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