The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team’. This could not be more true of Suffolk Building Society’s approach to its people.
In our ‘Working at the Society’ blog post series, we shine a light on specific members of our dedicated team and their role within Suffolk Building Society as a whole. We hope our members will enjoy this glimpse behind the scenes and that these genuine accounts will also provide inspiration for anyone considering applying for a role with us in the future.
After joining Suffolk Building Society in February 2021, Tiana has had a whirlwind of a journey during her time with us. Having started out as a part time Member Assistant (which later became full time) whilst studying at college, Tiana took a change in education path and started a Customer Service Practitioner apprenticeship. A final twist this year saw Tiana start a full-time role at the Society’s head office as a Finance Analyst, as she pursues her dream of reading figures on the beach!
Read on to find out more about Tiana, her experience of studying and working at the same time, and an insight into how starting out as an apprentice could lead to your dream career.
When did you start working at Suffolk Building Society and what was your journey like up until joining?
“I joined the Society in February 2021 as a Saturday member assistant. I applied for the Saturday role as I was still studying at Suffolk New College for a Level 3 Forensic Science and Criminology Extended Diploma.”
Once she’d finished at Suffolk New College it was time for a new challenge. Tiana embarked on a Level 2 Customer Service Practitioner Apprenticeship while working as a Society Member Assistant her apprenticeship was supported by the Society and a local education provider. She received help and encouragement from her mentors at the Society Tom and Alice. In 2022, Tiana achieved a distinction in her apprenticeship and explains what it was like to work and study at the same time.
What was the experience of working alongside your studies like?
“I didn’t mind working alongside my studies, but it would sometimes be hard to find an appropriate time to dedicate myself to my apprenticeship work rather than my day-to-day role.”
How did Suffolk Building Society support you during your studies?
“I was surrounded by the most amazing people who made it clear that they were there to help me whenever I needed it. I received lots of feedback from colleagues that was needed to go toward my grade.”
“Everyone was so accommodating when I had visits from my apprenticeship tutor etc, and she was so polite when she visited.”
What sort of skills do you think you’ve gained as part of your apprenticeship?
“I have gained prioritising skills. It is important to prioritise to ensure that everything is done, and it doesn’t feel like everything is falling on top of you. I have also developed my communication skills with customers and colleagues.”
“I have also been able to take criticism constructively rather than negatively, which is something I really struggled with when first joining the Society.”
Not knowing where you want to go in your career is very common and studying could be the way to direct you to what interests you the most. After working in customer service, Tiana opted to go down a different route in her career, having surpassed her own expectations of what she was capable of.
Did you surprise yourself with what you learnt and what you feel you’re able to do now in your career?
“One hundred percent! I feel as though I have so much confidence in myself now. When I completed my last workbook and compared it with my very first one, it’s crazy how much you can develop and grow without even realising!
“I think that without my apprenticeship, I wouldn’t have been confident enough to begin the career path I want for myself in the future.”
You might be sitting on the fence about what job you want to have, or are weighing up your options, including staying in education. Tiana shares her top tips on finding the right fit, including plucking up the courage to try something completely new.
What would be your advice to people who are debating their career path?
“My advice for people who are debating their career path is to start off by thinking generically about what it is you enjoy and what interests you. I would say apply for a role where you can progress and branch off into doing something else.”
“Don’t be scared to move around doing different types of things because you will find what suits you best. Development days or visiting other departments within your company may help this as you might find something you enjoy more than what you are currently doing.”
What are your plans for the future?
“For the future I would love to be an accountant or something along the same lines. My interest is finance and accounts etc. I am aiming to complete an Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) exam and gain qualifications and eventually move up.
“It would be the DREAM to be that and able to travel the world with it. Looking at figures on an exotic beach just screams ‘THIS IS THE LIFE’ to me.”
Tiana’s career progression is just one of many at the Society, taking on a full-time role after completing her studies, or moving departments and taking on a fresh challenge. Stay tuned to our blog to find out more about our wonderful staff and all Society news.
If this has sparked your interest in a potential role with us, you can view our current vacancies today.