Ashley, 2016 Graduate Intake
Anthropology, University of Durham
Current Placement: Marketing, London
Ashley joined the Graduate Programme in October 2016. Her first placement was based in the Apollo Business Delivery Team in Bristol, her second placement is in Marketing in London.
Nine months has flown past and after a really enjoyable first placement in Bristol I am now halfway through my second placement in London working in the Digital Marketing team. I have experienced and learnt so much since I first started here and I am really looking forward to meeting the new set of graduates on the scheme that we will be ‘buddies’ to. I am thoroughly enjoying working within the marketing team and getting to know more about this side of the business and my experience here so far has only further resonated, what a supportive and collaborative culture MO has. Attending the Big Event in Manchester in my first few weeks was a great entry to the team as well as a fantastic opportunity to meet customers on the scheme and really see how the scheme benefits so many people. The team have been extremely welcoming and very generous with their time when it has come to teaching me new skills such as uploading or amending things onto the Motability site. This is something I found with both placements. In my first month my biggest challenge was both learning how to make changes on the website so that I could assist with one of the pages created for the re-launch of the ‘News and views’ section of the website. It was really rewarding to be a part of this project and also to see the final page live on the site once it had launched.
In my current role my main responsibility has been around planning and implementing the Facebook Social strategy. This includes creating a business case to present to MO stakeholders as well as managing the set up, launch and planning of the FaceBook Page, Group and Messenger. It’s been a big learning curve particularly when it comes to project planning as this was something I hadn’t had any prior experience with. The second major part of my role is looking at YouTube and finding ways to optimise of use of the platform as well as creating a user manual to advise on brand guidelines. I am thoroughly enjoying the research behind both projects and learning a significant amount of new things about social media and project management.
When I first started this placement I had in mind some skills that I knew I wanted to develop and improve on and having a placement with a very different structure and set of objectives has help me start to polish some areas. I’d therefore recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to join the scheme to choose at least one placement in an area you feel you could develop or that might challenge you.
Thinking back to last year I am extremely glad I joined Motability Operations and it’s been a fantastic scheme both from an experience perspective and for the challenges and opportunities I have been presented with.
After 3 years of working in various sales roles, I decided to apply to the Motability Operations Graduate Scheme. I was looking for a new challenge and wanted to work somewhere where I could better develop my skill set and explore new opportunities in different areas of a business. It can be difficult when you first leave university to know exactly what you want to do, and that’s why, when I saw the Motability Operations graduate programme I didn’t hesitate to apply.
The application process for the graduate scheme was very thorough with four different stages, including an initial screening, a telephone interview, an assessment centre and all followed by a final interview. When I was offered a place on the graduate scheme I was delighted and accepted without any second thought, and after much anticipation, I started the induction at Motability Operations with two other graduates on the 3rd of October 2016. The graduate scheme is really unique as you not only get to experience a month of induction to the company, but you also rotate across various departments within the business over an 18 month period. The first placement you don’t choose yourself, however I think that this actually works very well as it challenges you and opens up new options that you may otherwise not have thought about.
During the initial month induction we shadowed various teams and even got to go around to meet some of the car dealers and visit the charity, Motability based in Harlow. I particularly enjoyed listening in on customer calls as it gave a real insight into just how excellent the level of customer service Motability Operations delivers. Everyone we met was extremely friendly and only too happy to answer our many questions. It was a great learning experience and really helped us to better understand the business before we began our first placements.
After a really excellent induction I started my first placement delivering the Business Familiarisation sessions for Project Apollo. Project Apollo is a major I.T project which aims to help us to develop and maintain a robust and sustainable IT platform – ALFA. During my first few weeks on the project I was taught how to use the new IT system, how to create test data and how to write exercises to help people in various departments become familiar and comfortable using the new system. I had never thought about working on an IT project, but I am really glad to be on this placement as it’s been a great opportunity to develop my skills and meet lots of people around the business. My team have been really supportive throughout offering me plenty of help and guidance particularly when I needed help overcoming any challenges. As well as my team I have also been fortunate to have had plenty of help and guidance from my graduate buddy, sponsor and mentor and it’s always good to know that I can ask them questions and run things by them if I need to.
Some advice for any Graduate that wants to apply for the Motability Operations Graduate scheme:
Do your research, pay close attention to the company values and think about some areas in the business that interest you. Motability Operations is the only company I know that 100% practises what they preach so when researching the company values, don’t take them with a pinch of salt.
Make sure you are driven, comfortable working on your own and as part of a team and that you like to see others succeed just as much as you like to celebrate your own successes.
Motability Operations has a high performance culture but it’s also about being friendly, flexible and facilitating. Therefore if company culture is just as important to you as gaining skills and being challenged then don’t think twice about applying to Motability Operations.
Matt, 2016 Graduate Intake
Geography, University of Manchester
Current Placement: Asset Risk, London
Matt joined the Graduate Programme in October 2016. His first placement was based in Bristol in the Communications, Development and Insight Team, his second placement is in Asset Risk where he is a Vehicle Risk Analyst in London.
Since my last blog post I have completed my placement in the Customer Services department in Bristol. It was a great first placement – enabling me to understand some of our key processes, but also giving me an insight into just how customer centric we are as an organisation.
I have now spent three months in my second placement, where I am working in the Asset Risk team in London. Moving to the London office has been an excellent opportunity, as it has allowed me to meet and build a network with people working in different business areas. My specific role is as a Vehicle Risk Analyst, where alongside a team of other analysts I am responsible for accurately and efficiently forecasting and reforecasting resale values and maintenance costs throughout a vehicle's lifecycle. The role is substantially different to my first placement and has pushed me out of my comfort zone and enabled me to develop new skills, for instance in data handling, analysis and modelling. These have been acquired through on-the-job learning and support, as well as through attending an offsite training course. It’s been a steep learning curve but one which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
Alongside my forecasting work, I’ve presented to senior management in internal meetings while I’ve also been involved in a project to develop a Policy Review Group and embed it into the team’s everyday processes. This is an important internal meeting for the team, which helps to develop and maintain an in-depth understanding of key developments in the new and used car markets and consequently decide whether we need to adjust our outlook. The group’s outputs feed into other working groups and ultimately our forecasting process. In addition to this, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend manufacturer events and industry conferences. These have helped to give me a very well-rounded view of some of the big issues currently faced by the automotive industry and some of the exciting challenges and opportunities Motability Operations will face in the coming years.
I first heard about the Motability Operations graduate programme through Target Jobs. The opportunity to experience various facets of the business through six month rotational placements was particularly appealing and so I sent an application. Shortly afterwards I was invited for a telephone interview, which tested my knowledge of the company and its customer value proposition, in addition to some competency-based questions. Following this I was invited to an assessment centre. This was certainly challenging, involving a group exercise, individual presentation, networking lunch session and an extended interview. While these experiences always carry some degree of stress, the atmosphere was really welcoming. People genuinely want you to do your best so come prepared and you’ll put yourself in the best position to succeed. Should you be successful, you will have a final interview with a director and Head of Function. This is really about finding out how well you’d fit with the Motability Operations culture. The exposure to senior figures in the organisation throughout the recruitment process translates to the graduate programme itself. Each graduate is assigned a dedicated sponsor (director), mentor (Head of Function) and buddy (previous or current graduate). Having those connections is invaluable. As they span the company’s organisational structure, it means that whatever concerns may arise during your time on the scheme there should always be someone to discuss them with.
Upon commencing the graduate scheme in October, all graduates go through a rigorous induction programme. This is a unique chance to gain a thorough understanding of how the business operates and what the links between different departments are. Throughout the five week period, myself and the other graduates spent time with nearly every team within the organisation. Sometimes we were set tasks, for instance a presentation on the internal and external challenges faced by a particular department in the current economic climate. Other times we were able to shadow different individuals across the business and see what their role entails. In addition to this, the induction programme also included several workshops. One of these was the Disability Confidence workshop, which certainly helped to improve my understanding of the broad and diverse nature of our customer base. There were also workshops on assertiveness and presentation skills, that have helped to refine these skills and increase my confidence in applying them in a professional environment.
I have recently commenced my first placement where I am performing an end-to-end review of a number of key business processes and helping to identify the ways in which these can be improved from both a customer and business perspective. Although I am primarily based within the Customer Services department, the fact I am reviewing these processes holistically has meant that I am frequently liaising with key stakeholders in other departments across the business. This has enabled me to build my network and generate relationships with people at all levels of the company right from day one. As there is considerable emphasis on the graduate intake sourcing their future placements themselves, this has been a great opportunity.
Josh, 2016 Graduate Intake
Politics & International Relations, University of Bristol
Current Placement: Business Systems, Bristol
Josh joined the graduate programme in October 2016. His first placement was based in London where he co-ordinated our Dealer Business Briefings, his second placement is in Business Systems where he is a Business Analyst.
My first placement as Business Briefings Co-ordinator in Dealer Relations came to an end in May. This role offered a great introduction to our relationship with the Dealer network, something that is so integral to our business. The opportunity to help facilitate a series of Business Briefings to over 3,500 dealers, manufacturers and scheme partners was invaluable, and one that I relished. In addition, I also helped deliver a set of ‘Dealer Workshops’, and a ‘Qualitative Feedback Programme’ amongst other projects. Overall, the project offered real responsibilities and ownership, and offered the opportunity to develop my skills in project, stakeholder and people management.
I am now three months into my second placement as a Business Analyst in Business Systems, helping deliver a new project via Agile methodologies. I decided to pursue a placement in this area because I wanted to experience a more technical and specialised role with a view to engage in an area that was thus far relatively unknown to me – and this is exactly what I got. The shift towards working ‘Agile’ and learning about the core competencies of a BA has entailed a steep learning curve, but one that has been enjoyable and fantastic for my development. From running User Acceptance Testing, to requirement elicitation and running workshops, this role has again offered a variety of great opportunities for development but situated within a more technical arena. Going forward, I am looking forward to getting involved with the scrum teams and learning about requirement engineering.
Aside from the day-to-day, I also supported one of the ‘One Big Days’ in Exeter. These events offer existing and potential customers the opportunity to learn more about the scheme and answer any questions they may have. On a personal level, meeting and talking to eligible customers offered some invaluable perspective on the impact the scheme has.
Although it feels like much less, I have now been at Motability Operations for nearly three months. The extensive five week induction programme, plus the Welcome Day, built a fantastic foundation for my time here thus far. During the Welcome Day we met our mentors, fellow graduates and the last year’s graduate intake, which was a great way to be introduced to the business before the official start date. The induction entailed spending time in the various parts of the business, affording us with an invaluable holistic view of the business. This induction programme varied from classroom learning, to shadowing, to presenting, and to being set tasks; overall, the varied nature of the induction kept it enjoyable yet informative. And going forward into my first role the value of this induction has become consolidated even more so, as I know why I’m doing certain tasks. My first role as the Business Briefings Coordinator has definitely required me to hit the ground running. Whilst in this role I have helped coordinate a series of briefings that the Company arranges for car dealers around the U.K, requiring me to work with external partners, dealers and plenty of my colleagues from around the business. From the very first day I have had real responsibilities, and people relying on me, and it’s really good to see a company that has that level of trust in its’ employees from the very start. In addition, the fact that we are being given guidance and mentoring by Directors and Heads of Function really underlines this trust that the company places in you. Combined with this independence is support and guidance in equal measures however, which has allowed me to forge my own development path. Whereas my mentor and sponsor concentrate on specific personal development points, my line manager offers support and day-to-day guidance that is again very valuable. Ultimately, it’s been a fast-moving and busy few months, but also a thoroughly enjoyable start to my career at MO.
Ashlea, 2015 Graduate Intake
Business Management, University of Surrey
Current Role: MI Analyst, Dealer Services in Bristol
Ashlea joined the Graduate Programme in October 2015. Her first placement was based in Bristol, where she was worked in the Dealer MI Team, her second placement was in Finance in Bristol finally Ashlea worked in the Programme Management Office in London. She is now an MI Analyst based in Bristol.
See below for the blog's that Ashlea wrote during her time on the Graduate Programme.
On successfully joining Motability Operations, on the 1st October 2015, the graduates and I had a one-month induction of the company. This involved visiting every department within the business across both London and Bristol, including visits to three dealerships and an auction and obtaining a thorough overview of each area. We also visited Motability the charity, which enhanced our understanding of their role and provided us with an insight into the relationships between the two organisations.
Overall, this was a fantastic opportunity to gain insight and exposure to both Motability and Motability Operations, whilst also meeting new individuals and network building. One of first things I noticed about Motability Operations is the culture and how friendly, driven and supportive everyone is, so my advice to any new starter is to make the most of the experience and ask lots of questions.
My first placement is within Dealer Services as a MI Analyst. My role involves improving efficiency, performance and compliance of key Dealer Services and processes, as well as supporting my department with daily reporting. This has provided me with the opportunity to network with key stakeholders and senior managers across the business, allowing me to build relationships and gain expose, whilst also developing new skills both professionally and personally.
I’ve definitely had to hit the ground running, but I am already enjoying the challenges and responsibility my placement has to offer and I am looking forward to presenting my findings to my Head of Function and department managers. The team has also already been incredibly supportive - along with my line manager, mentor, sponsor and buddy.
I have also had the opportunity to take calls for the BBC Children in Need telethon, which was a fantastic evening to be a part of and allowed me to meet many different individuals throughout the business. I am also looking forward to being a part of the mycommunity panel, which supports and encourages employees with volunteering and fundraising for our communities.
The first 6 months of the graduate programme are now complete and at the beginning of May I embarked on my second placement in Finance as a Financial Planning and Overheads Analyst, which has been both challenging and highly rewarding.
My placement started at the end of our third financial quarter and at the beginning of our Annual Operating Plan (AOP), which provides the latest cost estimates for this financial year, the expected cost estimates for next year and forecasts the high-level estimates for the future.
I‘ve taken an active role in supporting and pulling together our AOP and quarterly reforecasts, as well as producing all the organisational charts for all the cost centres within the organisation for 2016/2017. This has involved attending the Sub Divisional and Divisional roadshows for both Business Risk and Insurance and meeting with all the cost centre managers. I have also been assigned a project to produce a high-level document for a non-executive audience to explain the financial planning process.
Further on in my placement, I will work within each team in Finance across both the London and Bristol offices, including Treasury and Financial Reporting and Tax Management to learn their processes and practices, which will be an invaluable experience.
I’ve also had the opportunity to volunteer at a One Big Day event in Exeter. The event provides customers’ with the opportunity to view and test drive a range of vehicles and have their questions answered by Motability, Motability Operations and our scheme partners. These events are a great opportunity to meet and understand our customers’ needs and situations and appreciate how important the scheme is to our customers’ lives.
Emily, 2015 Graduate Intake
German with Spanish, University of Nottingham
Current Role: Resource Co-ordinator, Customer Services in Bristol
Emily joined the Graduate Programme in October 2015. Her first placement was based in Bristol, where she worked in the Online Sales Team her, second placement was in Learning & Development in Bristol and finally Emily joined Customer Services as a Resource Co-ordinator which she continues to do today.
See below for the blog's that Emily wrote during her time on the Graduate Programme.
Before the programme began, there was a half day induction over the summer when I got to meet the other graduates on the programme, my mentor and some of the HR team. It was a friendly and informative session which really helped to prepare and relax me ahead of my first day. The first month was an induction; we had meetings with every department and got a thorough overview of the business and its workings. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet people from all over the business and start building a network. It is a lot of information but everyone was very welcoming and my advice would be to make lots of notes but mainly just to enjoy the experience, get involved and ask any questions you have.
My first placement is within the Connect Team in Vehicle Remarketing, selling the used Motability cars back into the market at the end of their lease and also assisting to streamline the claims process, for when dealers are unhappy with the condition a car has arrived with them in. I previously worked in customer service and have no real sales experience so I’ve had to adapt significantly to the highly targeted, sales driven, business to business environment. The department have been very welcoming and supportive and despite only being a few weeks in, it’s amazing how much you learn. You need take ownership of your own progress and throw yourself out of your comfort zone and into the work – it’s a challenge but the days fly by and I’m enjoying every one of them.
As a general recommendation, take every opportunity to meet people from other departments and get yourself involved in as much as possible. If you get the chance to man the phone lines for Children in Need it is a great night – there is a really simple process for taking the donations and the atmosphere in the office is great, with this year’s highlights including morris dancing and freshly made candyfloss.
What advice would you give to candidates going through the application process?The recruitment process is going to stretch you – you meet Heads of Function and Directors from an early stage so the high level exposure is brilliant but you will be pushed and challenged all the way. From my experience, it’s very important to be yourself and back yourself. Be prepared but bear in mind that your qualifications have got you that far, the recruitment process is about demonstrating what you’re made of, what you can do and why Motability Operations is the right place for you.
My first placement within the Online Sales team in our Vehicle Remarketing department finished in May 2016. I learned a huge amount about what happens to the vehicles once they have finished their life on the scheme, how important it is to efficiently release the cars back into the market and the impact if this doesn’t happen. It was a fantastic experience working in a business to business environment in a large department, which included managing a portfolio of dealers and selling vehicles on an everyday basis, going out on dealer visits with our field team, interacting with our internal marketing team and getting involved in external projects to improve our service and offering.
Since May, I have been working in the Customer Services Communication team in the Communication, Development and Insight Department. The team is responsible for our internal knowledge management tool ‘Ask Mo’, updating several department’s internal intranet pages and centrally distributing information and updates throughout the Commercial Division. The role is a great mix of people and communication skills alongside technical knowledge and I get to speak to people from all over the business every day.
Additionally, I have a project looking at internal call drivers. Throughout this, I’ve been able to work on my leadership skills, prioritising work and stakeholders effectively, as well as managing expectations and working to timescales. Running a project can be demanding but gives you the opportunity to have a real impact on the business and take full responsibility for your own success and development.
Outside of the day to day role, I have also taken part in a recruitment evening for new Contact Centre Advisors. I had the opportunity to interview a candidate, observe the group activity and provide feedback on their performance. It was really interesting to see the recruitment process from an internal perspective and great experience to work on my recruitment skills.
Working for Motability Operations is hard work but also good fun and the Company take every opportunity to engage its’ employees. A few weeks ago I went to the summer barbecue for the Contact Centre; we have quarterly challenges between the Communication, Development & Insight Teams and have also had a department quiz night. There are so many opportunities to get involved both within and outside of work and my advice would be to get stuck in and enjoy it – I know I am!
Olivia, 2015 Graduate Intake
Geography with International Study, University of Manchester
Current Role: Team Coach, Customer Services in Bristol
Olivia joined the Graduate Programme in October 2015. Her first placement was based in London, where she was working in the Digital Marketing Team and in Human Resources, her second placement was in Learning & Development in London and finally Olivia worked in Specialised Solutions in Bristol. She is now a Team Coach based in Bristol.
See below for the blog's that Olivia wrote during her time on the Graduate Programme.
I began my journey with Motability Operations when I stumbled across the graduate programme on Milkround. I liked the sound of the scheme, especially as it offered lots of support from a buddy, mentor and sponsor. In addition, I soon realised what a unique opportunity this was to challenge myself in a variety of roles.
The recruitment process consisted of a telephone interview, assessment centre and final panel interview with a Director. During this process I was given the chance to talk about my own experiences and ambitions. In addition I was expected to answer some questions about the business, for example regarding company values or potential challenges. The important thing for candidates to remember is that first impressions count, so try to come across friendly and genuine but also professional.
Two pieces of advice to share with you:
- Preparation is key: Read everything you can about the company before you go and make sure you have a deep knowledge of the Motability scheme. Understand factors that might influence company decisions or prospects, and be clear that Motability the Charity is a separate organisation.
- Be yourself: It is a bit of a cliché but if you want to do well then it is important to be open and honest in the way you talk and act. Company culture is extremely well valued across the business so it’s essential that your own personality and values are matched. This is not only to ensure you are right for the company but also that the company is right for you!
I have now started my first placement within the Digital Marketing team based in London. Thanks to the thorough induction I received in my first month, I now feel more confident about the organisation and am looking forward to learning more about my new team.
My experience so far has been unique in the sense that I have had two short placements, first in Digital Marketing then in Human Resources. This has given me the opportunity to learn from a wide variety of tasks and gain valuable insight into how these departments operate.
In Marketing I was impressed by the department’s customer focussed approach, with the aim of providing genuinely useful information and support. In line with this was the task of conceiving and initiating a content marketing pilot that focused on engaging prospects and customers online. I was able to learn the way webpages are constructed and best practice in how to boost search engine rankings.
At this time, the digital focus was on de-coupling the customer website in order to create separate Scheme and Charity sites, a complex project that involved working closely with Motability, the Charity. Being part of this enabled me to see first-hand how successful projects are managed which is something that I have taken on board to inform the way I approach my own future projects.
In HR I provided assistance and support in the roll-out of the employee engagement survey, run in conjunction with Willis Towers Watson. Within my role I was able to broaden and enhance the skills I had required from my previous placement, most notably through setting up a trial of LinkedIn as a recruitment tool for the business. This very much reflects the nature of the graduate programme – real responsibility, backed up by encouragement and expertise, with the reward of a great sense of achievement resulting from hard work and commitment.
I have now settled into Customer Services MI & Forecasting where I am working on a project to upgrade some of the statistics used by the Contact Centre. So far I have enjoyed speaking with stakeholders to better understand their needs and the way they use the data to enhance overall performance. As I continue to gain skills around project planning, I am feeling more equipped to ensure the project maintains momentum and runs as efficiently as possible. In addition I am also seeing how every project inevitably presents unforeseen challenges which require a holistic approach to problem-solving. Finally, my role means that I am close to the development of the reporting, so I am learning about which systems we use and how they are connected.
The many people I have got to know at MO have been driven and passionate, but also exceptionally friendly and supportive, helping me to benefit and learn from every experience. Moving between departments so often can be daunting but I have always been made to feel part of the team. Each placement has been motivational and the enthusiasm and dedication of those around me has given me much to aspire to.
Jenni, 2014 Graduate Intake
Environmental Geography, University of York
Current Role: Customer Implementation Specialist, Customer Services in London
Jenni joined the Graduate Programme in October 2014. Her first placement was in Bristol, where she worked on an IT project, her second placement was in Dealer Services in Bristol where she worked with our Powered Wheelchair and Scooter Dealers and finally Jenni worked on a Business Implementation project. She is now a Customer Implementation Specialist based in London.
See below for the blog's that Jenni wrote during her time on the Graduate Programme.
At the beginning of June I started my second placement in the Dealer Communications and Training Team within the Dealer Services department based at the Bristol office. I am now half way through this placement and I am constantly learning new things about this area of the business.
During this placement I have been involved in various projects across the team. This has given me the opportunity to effectively manage my priorities and time. These projects have ranged from supporting the team deliver a new e- Learning Management System for the Powered Wheelchair and Scooter (PWS) Dealers to carrying out a complete refresh of one of the systems we use to help support these dealers. As part of refreshing this system I have had to go out to the business and learn the whole process that a PWS Dealer goes through with a customer; from application to product collection. This has given me a great insight into how the dealers operate on our scheme.
Being a graduate within Dealer Services gives you a wonderful opportunity to get out and meet some of our dealers. Since starting this placement I have had the opportunity to go out with one of the PWS Account Managers on their visits to dealers on the scheme. During these visits the account managers discuss how the dealer is performing and also it is a chance for the dealer to ask any questions or raise any issues they may have. It was great to see the dealers interacting with our customers and to listen to their thoughts and opinions about the scheme.
Last month I volunteered at the Motability One Big Day event in Exeter. These events happen every year across the country and are free for our customers to attend. The event is a chance for customers to come along and see a large range of our vehicles, powered wheelchairs, scooters and adaptations on display, as well as taking test drives and questioning our advisors. I was placed on the reception area at the event and greeted customers as they arrived and explained to them how the event worked. It was a fantastic day and I really enjoyed getting out and meeting our customers and seeing how much they value the scheme.
The past six months have flown by and I am now coming to the end of my first placement on the Apollo Project in Business Systems. I have learnt so much in this first six months and am excited about what the rest of the programme holds.
Within my role, I have worked with many people across the company, introducing them to our new IT system and making sure that they are ready to receive system training. Although this has been a challenge, it has also been a great opportunity to meet lots of people across many departments in the business and develop various different skills. My team in Business Systems has helped me deliver this project by being highly supportive and approachable, which is something that you will find throughout the company in the Motability Operations culture.
In addition to my main role I have also taken on responsibility for delivering some of the Apollo Project communications. For example, I've put together presentations for various different groups and wrote slides for part of the Company Performance Report.
As part of the Graduate Programme you get the opportunity to present to the company CEO and one of the directors. This is a great opportunity and gives high level exposure that you do not receive on many other graduate programmes. This year’s intake has just completed their first presentation of this type. The presentation involved giving an update on each of our placements and also talking about a current topic. It was a great experience and one that I am sure none of us will forget for a while!
From June I will be joining Dealer services for my second placement in which I will be working with the PWSS dealers. I am excited to start a new challenge in another department and build on everything that I have learnt from Business Systems.
After joining Motability Operations on October 1, myself and the two other graduates I started with embarked on a month long induction to the company. During this month we've visited every department in the business across both London and Bristol sites and gained valuable insight into every aspect of the business. We met many different people including members of senior management. The whole experience really emphasised the unique culture that is held by every employee here at Motability Operations. Everyone strives for excellence, works hard and is very supportive.
The time that we spent with each department varied, with some departments giving presentations to us and others setting us challenges as a group. When we were spending time with Customer Services, we had the opportunity to listen in to calls that were being taken. This was particularly useful as we were able to see the kinds of issues people were calling in with and hear what the customers want from us as a business.
As part of the induction month we got to visit Motability the charity in Harlow. It was really interesting to see the work they do and learn about the foundations of Motability Operations. The day gave us real insight into how the relationship works between Motability and Motability Operations. It was also an excellent opportunity to meet employees from the charity.
The induction month gave us all a really solid foundation of knowledge and relationships to move onto our first placements. I am currently into my first week working with the Business Implementation Team on the Apollo Project. My role here will be to set up and run Business Familiarisation Sessions for people to try out the new IT system that is being introduced. I have greatly enjoyed my first few days here and have received so much support with the work I am doing.
My advice for anyone that is taking part in the induction month would be to ask as many questions as you can, really take the opportunity to meet as many people as possible and enjoy it!
David, 2013 Graduate Intake
University of York, BA in History
Current Role: Vehicle Technology Strategy Lead, Automotive Relations in London
David joined Motability Operations in October 2013. David spent his first six months in the Vehicle Remarketing department, based in Bristol, working as a Forecasting and Development Analyst. He then moved to London to join the Legal department for six months. David joined the Customer Contact Centre as a Team Leader for his final placement and on completing the programme he moved into the role of MI Team Manager in Remarketing based in Bristol. David is now the Vehicle Technology Strategy Lead based in London.
See below for the blog's that David wrote during his time on the Graduate Programme.
In October I finished my placement in the Legal team and embarked on my current placement, managing a team of thirteen Customer Service Advisors in the Bristol Contact Centre. My placement in the Legal team exposed me to a totally unfamiliar environment, working in a specialised area on a business critical project and taught me a huge amount. Working on the application for Financial Conduct Authority permissions taught me a huge amount about the business -- from high level corporate governance to detailed processes in specific areas. It also enabled me to develop my skills and experience, including delivering under pressure and communicating messages to different parts of the business.
My current placement has been another step into the unknown and has enabled me to continue taking on increased responsibility on the Graduate Programme. People management appealed to me from early on in the Graduate Programme and it is rewarding having this opportunity for my third placement. One of the central features of the Graduate Programme is taking responsibility for your own progression and development and I am continuing to utilise and build on the cumulative experience from my previous placements.
I have been enjoying the fresh challenge of immersing myself in a new area of the business and picking up the new skills that requires. However, as the culture here at Motability Operations is so consistent and I have been able to build a good network throughout the business, it has been a smooth transition moving back to Bristol and the new role.
I have enjoyed having direct interaction with our customers. I have also relished the challenge of people management and particularly enjoyed recruitment and developing new starters. The on-the-job learning is a constant pressure but also highly effective.
Early on during my time on the Graduate Programme I raised the point to my sponsor that as a business we could be looking at understanding carers as well as the disabled customer. This has been something that I have been working on alongside my placements. It has also resulted in me presenting this work at the internal Disability Network Group which meets quarterly to discuss wider issues relating to disability and also the business. I am now the joint-vice-chair of this group and am enjoying being able to get involved with organising the agenda for meetings and chairing future meetings.
I am beginning the sixth month of my second placement working within the Legal team in Corporate Services and, as expected, it has been challenging and highly rewarding. I have been working within a skilled and specialised team and have been able to learn a huge amount through their advice and mentoring.
The main project I have been working on is Motability Operations' application to become regulated and approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – the recently established regulatory body responsible for regulating over 50,000 UK firms. The work has been demanding and a steep learning curve but has given me an insight into Motability Operations processes, governance and the wider regulatory framework in which we operate.
Working on the FCA project has also given me the opportunity to get involved with external consultants and solicitors. This has placed me in different business environments and given me further exposure and experience. Through this project, I have had the opportunity to assist in presenting to the executive directors and also communicating messages to the wider business.
My role has also enabled me to get involved with the ‘business as usual’ aspects of the team and given me an insight into different legal aspects of the business. These have included: correspondence with solicitors; contracts; company insurance and governance. All of which have been invaluable new experiences.
I have recently finished my first placement in Vehicle Re-marketing. I learnt a huge amount over the course of my first placement. The welcoming and supportive nature of the company was reflected in the department, which facilitated the challenge of moving to a new city and starting an unfamiliar role. My role as a Forecasting and Development Analyst placed me outside my comfort zone, but the support from my team and manager enabled me to pick up the tools to do this. Coming from a History degree, it was the first time I had worked with numbers since prior to University and I got a real sense of achievement and enjoyment.
During my placement I was given a lot of time and support from the managers within the department. This allowed me to develop my sense of business acumen and also led to various opportunities within the department. For example, I was able to visit suppliers, work closely with the Marketing team and get involved with recruiting for a Sales Executive position.
My main project was focused on looking at the weekend sales of Motability Scheme vehicles back into the motor trade. I was given a lot of freedom to shape my role and from this core analysis I was able to make and implement recommendations. It was a steep learning curve identifying a problem, testing a solution and delivering results. I found it very rewarding being able to see the direct results of my work.
My current placement, working within the Legal team in Corporate Services, is very different from my first placement and is showing me a totally different side of the business. One of the great benefits and also challenges of the Graduate Programme is the opportunity to experience different aspects of the business. I have been made to feel very welcome and have already had the opportunity to get involved in different projects and tasks within the department. The emphasis continues to be on ‘on the job learning’, of which I am thoroughly enjoying. My current role is once again outside my comfort zone and I look forward to building on what I learnt and experienced during my previous placement.
After joining Motability Operations on 1 October, over the course of the following month I embarked on a comprehensive induction of the business. This involved spending time with each department across both the London and Bristol sites and provided an invaluable insight into how different aspects of the business function. It was a unique opportunity to meet employees and key stakeholders throughout the company and really illustrated the high performance culture and strong value base here. I was made to feel really welcome and struck by how helpful and approachable everyone was.
I found the Company Introduction day particularly useful. This is provided to all new employees and involves various senior members of staff presenting an overview of the different functions within the business. It was really helpful in linking up the different departments I had encountered over the induction period and also provided an opportunity to ask questions and establish networks throughout the business.
The time I spent with each department during the induction period took various different forms, from presentations given by individual teams to group project work. I found the opportunity to shadow employees in different departments particularly useful. Not only was I highly impressed by the professionalism of the people I met, but it also brought what I had learnt about the business to life.
The induction programme has provided a solid foundation as I have now embarked on my first placement as a Forecasting and Development Analyst in Vehicle Re-Marketing. I have enjoyed the challenge of being placed outside my comfort zone and could not have received more support from my line-manager, mentor and sponsor.
Jack, 2013 Graduate Intake
Bournemouth University, BSc in Business Information Technology
Current role: Project Manager, Business Systems, London
Jack joined the Graduate Programme in October 2013 and completed placements in Business Systems, Finance and the Specialised Mobility Operations department. He has now finished the Graduate Programme and is working as a Project Manager in the Business Systems department, based in London.
See below for the blog's that Jack wrote during his time on the Graduate Programme.
Back in October I completed my Finance placement and have since transitioned into my final role on the Graduate Scheme. My time in Finance was a valuable and enjoyable experience which helped me to learn the intricacies of how a Finance department operates and is managed. This was achieved by a varied role that included: project management, development of company reports, involvement with financial and strategic planning as well as the unique opportunity to sit with each team across Bristol and London to find out in detail their processes and practices. Moving on to my current role, I have been lucky enough to be involved in two placements. One of these has been in Specialised Mobility Operations (SMO) and the other in the Facilities team.
I was welcomed to SMO with an immensely useful and in-depth introduction, which included an invitation to a dealer roadshow. The roadshow, presented by the SMO team, gave dealers an opportunity to ask any questions or queries surrounding new Scheme changes. This was a great experience not only to learn more about the Scheme but also to listen to the opinions and experiences of the dealer network. Project management has been an interesting and challenging theme throughout my time on the Graduate Scheme and is something that has continued within SMO. Amongst other tasks, the main two projects I have been working on have helped to benefit the department and develop my skills.
Within the Facilities placement, my main role has involved analysing current processes and suggesting potential improvements within the department. At present, I am working closely with the team to help implement changes the team and I have suggested. This has been a great project to be involved in as any process alterations within Facilities can be felt throughout the company.
Managing projects between two placements has been a rewarding challenge that has exposed me to diverse areas of the business. It has enabled me to develop further on both a professional and personal basis as responsibility increases.
As mentioned in my previous blog, I have been working in Finance for the past 4 months. During the placement, I have been involved in various aspects of Finance including; strategic planning, analysis of financial planning and control as well as developing company reports for MO, Directors and external stakeholders.
Whilst working on Strategic planning, my primary role was to pull together and help create a companywide presentation that would be presented in-front of all Directors. In addition to this, I was invited to the Directors Day at an offsite location to observe the presentation and take any actions that came from discussions. This was a fantastic experience to network with the Directors and to see how debates and decisions are made at this level.
So far in my Finance role I have been assigned two projects. Firstly, I have recently been assigned a project to analyse, gather requirements, suggest improvements and implement a new file structure within the department. This is a great opportunity to work with all the managers in Finance to produce a benefit to everyone involved within Finance. Over the next month I will be working with each team in Finance to learn their processes and practices and be actively involved within each team, helping to perform day to day tasks.
Another project I have been working on is to help deliver a matrix for dealer account managers. The matrix has involved complex formulas and macros which previously I had little/ no knowledge of previously. Through the guidance and support of the team, I have been able to help develop the matrix and move the project forward.
MO recently went through a data retention initiative with the main aim of MO being compliant within set standards. After research and discussing best practices with the business, I delivered a hints and tips guide alongside the initiative which was then distributed to the company for employees to reference.
It only seems like yesterday I was writing my last blog, six months have flown by. My placement within Business Systems is coming to an end, along with the projects that have been assigned to me.
Alongside project work, I am currently the secretary for two Owners Groups. Through my secretarial duties I have gained knowledge of how Management, Heads of Functions and Directors make key decisions that affect Motability Operations and Business Systems. Although challenging, this role grants me a high level of exposure to management, which I would highly recommend to all graduates.
As mentioned in my previous blog, I have been the project manager for sourcing and implementing a new time tracking solution within Business Systems. This has given me the opportunity to experience managing a project from start to finish and provide Business Systems with an improved time tracking solution. Once implemented, Business Systems will be able to log time against projects they are working on.
I have been helping to review company compliance and data retention periods within the organisation. My main role within this project was to create an employee friendly guide which outlined best practices, ensuring that each user remains compliant with the formal data retention policy.
Another project I have been working on is project managing a large Business Systems desk move. Across three floors, I helped to analyse, plan and implement over 85 desk moves which included moving IT equipment.
Next month I will be joining Finance for my second placement which I am truly looking forward to. I am very grateful to Business Systems for making my first placement so enjoyable and for challenging me every step of the way.
After a thorough induction and training, I am currently on my third week in the Portfolio Management team within the Business Systems department at Motability Operations. At present, I am working on my first project within Business Systems, which is to replace a legacy time tracking tool used to capture time management statistics. I am finding this project both interesting and challenging.
So, enough about what I am doing now, how did I get here?
My journey with Motability Operations started with completing the online application form. The aim of the application questions is for the organisation to gain a further understanding of your personality, key skills and experiences. I would recommend any new applicants to research the company’s core values and apply them to your own key skills and experiences, demonstrating these with real life examples.
If your written application is successful, the next stage of the process is an invitation to participate in a one-to-one telephone interview. From a personal perspective, I did not know what to expect, as this was my first telephone interview and was naturally nervous. However, almost immediately, my nerves were put at ease after a quick introduction by the interviewer who explained the structure and keys points regarding the telephone interview. My advice for this would be to thoroughly research the organisation, structure, company values and highlight any recent events/key articles that could have an impact on any areas of the business.
If successful with the telephone interview, the next stage of the recruitment process is to attend the Motability Operations assessment centre in either London or Bristol. Similar to the telephone interview, this was my first experience of an assessment centre. There are three aspects: a presentation, a group exercise and an interview. I would advise anyone who has got to this stage to ask your questions during the introductory session, as after this the day is very fast paced. I would also suggest that you try to meet as many people as you can during the assessment day.
If successful, the last stage of the recruitment process is to attend a final interview with two Motability Operations senior leaders (often linked to your field of interest) in London or Bristol. It is important during the final interview to demonstrate your knowledge of the field you would like to enter and where you see yourself progressing to in the future.
Best of luck with your application!
Sam, 2012 Graduate Intake
Brunel University, BSc in Sports Science
mfldirect Development Manager, Vehicle Remarketing, Field based
Sam joined Motability Operations in October 2012 and during his time on the Graduate Programme worked in Marketing, Forecasting and Development and Online Sales.
After finishing the Graduate Programme, Sam worked as the Online Customer Sales Team Leader within the Vehicle Remarketing department, based in Bristol. He is now an mfldirect Development Manager in the same department.
See below for the blog's that Sam wrote during his time on the Graduate Programme.
I am now in my final placement on the graduate programme, and rather uncommonly, I have remained within the Vehicle Remarketing department where I completed my second placement. My current role is as the mfldirect Online Customer Sales Team Manager, and includes overseeing a team of sales executives who sell Motability Scheme vehicles that have reached the end of the customer lease back into the motor trade.
One of the key aspects of managing a sales team is the tracking of individual performance. We work in a very target driven environment and I am now responsible for the performance of both myself and my team. The online sales area has been tasked with year on year growth over the coming twelve months. This means that in addition to the people and performance management aspects of the role, I have also been heavily involved with the production of marketing campaigns and the implementation of process changes to engage more effectively with our dealer base.
Something that I have particularly enjoyed as part of this placement is my responsibility for recruitment. I have liaised with external agencies, conducted multiple interviews and hosted assessment centres for prospective candidates. It is crucial to find people that are capable of fulfilling the requirements of the role and fitting culturally with the values of Motability Operations.
Stepping into my new role has been a real challenge. I have been faced with unfamiliar situations and instances where my decisions can directly influence the team around me and the direction of the department. Whilst this can be very demanding at times, it has accelerated my personal development over the past four months and I appreciate the leadership opportunity that I have been presented with. I have received invaluable guidance from my current line manager and ongoing support from the rest of the management team across the department.
It's been a while since my last blog and a lot has taken place over the past few months. I have handed over my project on the corporate website and moved on from my first placement in the Marketing department. Before departing, I ensured a comprehensive round-up of everything that I had achieved and I left the website in a position where it could be passed to the development team for the technical build to be initiated.
Over the six month placement I played a vital role in gathering requirements, compiling the content, updating the brand guidelines, liaising with stakeholders and establishing the final designs for the new look site. I developed both professionally and personally along the way, picking up skills that will be invaluable for my career at Motability Operations. I hope to see the finished website in a few months and I am looking forward to seeing the reaction from other business areas that have not been as heavily involved in the design.
On 7 May I commenced my second placement in Vehicle Remarketing (VRM) working in the Forecasting and Development Team. The thing that has surprised me most going into my new role is how heavily data driven the department is. Over the coming months I will be developing a reporting tool to assist in the planning and sales strategy for VRM and our online sales channel. I expect this to be a real challenge as analytics is unfamiliar territory and it will push me outside of my comfort zone.
I have been handed a lot of responsibility from the off and I must manage my own time as a lot of emphasis has been placed upon my individual development. I'm sure that this will prove to be another steep learning curve but I have no doubt I will take a lot from this project.
I am four weeks into my first placement in the Marketing department, working within the Digital Marketing team. The Digital team are focused upon improving the delivery and content of all web based material and my first project is to undertake a complete overhaul of the Motability Operations corporate website (on which you are currently reading this blog).
Having the corporate website as my first project is brilliant. It requires me to liaise with key stakeholders across the business, allowing me to build relationships and gain exposure to areas of the company that I otherwise may not have had much contact with. In addition to this I have to communicate and work with external suppliers for both the development and design of the website. In my first week I was given a comprehensive overview of the project along with a task to critique the newly launched customer website. This has since allowed me to compile some of the main business needs for the new website, and over the coming weeks I will be hosting workshops with other departments to present my thoughts and gather their specific requirements.The technical aspects of the project have proved to be a steep learning curve and I expect this to continue over the coming months. There are many new terminologies and unfamiliar processes that I need to understand for this placement, but the support I have received to help with my development has been exemplary. I feel comfortable questioning complex aspects of the project and both my line manager, and the team around me, are supportive and willing to share their knowledge.
The multifaceted nature of my first placement is what excites me the most. It poses new challenges that will require me to build upon my existing skill set. In addition, the Marketing department have been very welcoming which has made the transition into my new role a smooth process.
Quickfire question: if you could give one piece of advice to an applicant before the telephone interview, what would it be?Try to pre-empt what questions may be asked and prepare for them as thoroughly as possible. Ensure that you are able to give comprehensive evidence based answers, and be prepared to elaborate so that the interviewer does not have to probe for further information.
Alex, 2012 Graduate Intake
Stirling University, BA in Money, Banking and Finance
Pricing Manager within Asset Risk and Pricing, London
Alex joined Motability Operations in October 2012 and his placements have been in Finance, Asset Risk and Pricing and the Customer Contact Centre. Having finished the Graduate Programme he is now the Pricing Manager within the Asset Risk and Pricing department.
See below for the blog's that Alex wrote during his time on the Graduate Programme.
Having finished my second placement as a Pricing Analyst, I started a placement in Customer Services at the beginning of November, in which I led a project to review the annual leave policy and create a mutually beneficial proposal for 175 advisors and the management team. This gave me plenty of opportunity to work with a number of people at various levels in the largest area of the company, as well as building my confidence leading a project.
From the beginning of the Graduate Programme, I had wanted to work in Pricing, so when the Pricing Analysis Manager role became available, I was pleased to be offered the opportunity to return to Pricing in London for my first management role with MO. This role will continue until the end of the Graduate Programme in April, at which time I will move into a permanent role.
My development through the Graduate Programme has been guided by my Sponsor and Mentor, and despite coming to the end of the 18 months, the support has remained excellent. Having worked in both the Bristol and London offices, I’ve also met a number of people across the business who’ve given me great support and advice from their different viewpoints in the business.
The Graduate Programme has provided me with the support, guidance and opportunities to better myself and start my career with strong foundations, in a role and department which – having had the opportunity to experience the area before - I want to be a part of.
Since starting the Graduate Programme a year ago, I’ve completed a placement on the Insurance Project in Bristol and am now finishing up my second placement in Pricing in London. I will be moving back to Bristol for my third and final placement at the beginning of November.
These three placements will have allowed me to gain a broad range of experience. The Insurance placement focused on a large scale project. I had a business as usual job in Pricing which included some smaller scale projects. In November, I am due to start a management role in Customer Services. As such, I am confident that by the end of the Graduate Programme I will have gained the experience and contacts across the business to move into a permanent role for a new challenge.
In the past year, I’ve also been involved in a number of committees and owners' groups, both within my placement and the wider business. This provided a breadth of experience which would be difficult to achieve outside of such a well structured Graduate Programme.
Throughout the Graduate Programme I have had monthly meetings to check in with my Sponsor and Mentor, both of whom have opened doors when required to ensure that I have been well equipped to make the most of the Graduate Programme. They have also been happy to give advice on potential final roles.
At the beginning of May I started my second placement in Vehicle Pricing, having completed my first six-month placement on the Insurance project. My first six months were in Bristol, but I’ve now moved to the London office, which was thankfully stress-free!
My placement as a Pricing Analyst involves both project and ‘business as usual’ elements. Given that my first placement was a 100% project role, this placement will give me opportunity to utilise the skills which I’ve learned over the last six months, as well as developing my skills in a business as usual environment.
In addition to my new role, I’ve been able to continue some responsibility from my first placement, allowing me to own an element of the insurance project from planning stage right through to implementation, and complete my first ‘major’ piece of work in my career.
I’ve now been with Motability Operations for eight - very quick - months, in which I’ve learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and have achieved a lot to be proud of. I have 10 more months and another placement until I’ve completed the Graduate Programme. I have no doubt that they will fly by.
Since the last blog entry, I have started my first placement on Project Artemis. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of accountability I’ve been given from day one, while still getting the support of my manager and colleagues. I have my own assignments within the broader project, and have had the opportunity to present my findings and progress in several meetings, including to the Finance Director. My main assignment currently is the development of an insurance premium pricing calculation, demanding input not only from my colleagues at Motability Operations, but also from the finance team at RSA insurance.
The nature of my placement means I am in meetings often with the executive team, which is brilliant exposure to the senior managers at Motability Operations, particularly considering I am just three months into my career.
Although my placement is based in Bristol, I’m in London at least once each week, which has allowed me to meet the teams at each office, as well as getting a feel for the London office for when I get a placement based there.
Before the Christmas break, we went to both the Bristol and London Christmas parties, which were really good nights, and were also a chance to meet colleagues outside of the office, allowing us to get to know our teams on a more social level.
Recently we have started looking into our next placements, in preparation for a move at the end of April.
Quickfire question: How has having a buddy helped you?
As somebody straight out of university, having a ‘buddy’ has been invaluable. A ‘buddy’ provides access to somebody with a year’s experience and knowledge of the Graduate Programme on a more informal level, for some of the questions which don’t warrant running by my mentor or sponsor. Right from day one, my ‘buddy’ was offering useful tips about life at Motability Operations, from how to prepare for meetings to general business etiquette. Overall, having a ‘buddy’ has made my transition into life at Motability Operations far more comfortable and has taught me things that otherwise, I would likely have had to learn ‘the hard way.’
Since joining Motability Operations at the beginning of October, I have taken part in a really thorough induction programme. It has been invaluable, not only because it has given me a much better understanding of the company and its processes but also because it has helped me piece together the many different areas and really understand where I will fit in during my first placement. The induction programme has allowed me to meet people in both London and Bristol, including many members of senior management and it has quickly become apparent just how friendly and happy to help everybody at Motability Operations is.
As part of the induction programme, I have also taken part in a Disability Confidence workshop. It was useful to get a better understanding of the way we think about and treat our customers. Another highlight of the induction programme has been a Communication and Assertiveness workshop. This full day course helped me get a better understanding of the learning and working styles that get the best out of myself and my fellow graduates. I am in no doubt that I will use the skills I developed in this session throughout the programme and later in my career.
Although I have not been here long, I have already realised just how much value Motability Operations place on high performance and ensuring that every department across the business provides the best possible service. This realisation has made me even more excited to start my first placement, which will be on Project Artemis (an insurance project). I will be based in Bristol but will be travelling to London on a frequent basis to attend key project meetings, which will be a great opportunity for me to work with a number of people from across both sites.
Quickfire question: why did you apply to Motability Operations?
Having worked at a Motability accredited dealership during my time at university, I had seen first hand the level of customer satisfaction that Motability Operations could provide to its customers, and thought it would be a great company to work for. In addition to this, I wanted to work in the automotive industry, in which Motability Operations is a key player. After looking further into the Graduate Programme, I discovered it had won a ‘best place to work’ award in 2008, and the rotational placements offered meant that I could get a feel for different aspects of the company before selecting my chosen area at the end of the Graduate Programme, ensuring that I will end up in a career I truly enjoy.
Rebecca, 2012 Graduate Intake
Royal Holloway University, BA in History
Customer Solutions Team Account Manager, London
Rebecca joined Motability Operations in January 2011 as a Contact Centre Advisor, before joining our Graduate Programme in 2012. Her placements were in Dealer Services, Marketing and the Customer Solutions Team. In April 2014 she finished the Graduate Programme and is now an Account Manager.
See below for the blogs that Rebecca wrote during her time on the Graduate Programme.
Looking back at the past 18 months I can see that I’ve been on an incredible journey. I’m writing from my third and final placement within Customer Solutions where I am supporting the management team in implementing strategy and responding to changing business demands. I’ve been entrusted with a number of real responsibilities, from recruitment and interviewing, to planning out and scheduling major projects. Of all my varied roles, this is one of my favourites as it encompasses my flair for building relationships and is ever-changing, providing me with constant new challenges.
Given that this is my last blog, it seems only fitting that I look back on the Graduate Scheme as a whole. In the space of just 18 months I have learnt so much, I can honestly say that I am a different person now. I’ve developed a far sounder business knowledge and am comfortable in my judgment in making decisions. I understand the importance of strategy within business and will always plan with sustainability in mind. On a personal note, the constant support offered to me has given me more confidence in my abilities and left me far more assertive. Most importantly though, I’ve learnt that the success of a business lies with its people; investment in relationships is key to achieving your goals and I’ve been most fortunate to build friendships and contacts with some amazing people.
To any of you reading this and wondering whether or not you ought to apply, do it. The Scheme has given me so much, not only in the immediate sense, but for the future – it’s given me the foundations for a long standing, successful career.
Incredibly it’s been a year since I started on the Graduate Programme and in that time I’ve experienced and learned so much. I’ve just completed my second placement in Marketing and cannot believe the amount of business knowledge and practical skills that this has equipped me with. Within Marketing, I was trusted from the start with the great responsibility of managing marketing and communications for Motability’s Powered Wheelchair and Scooter Scheme. This was a very busy role, comprised of working with a number of different people internally to produce literature and communications for both the customer and dealer network. This was a huge challenge, working to deadlines and making important decisions, but it gave me scope to develop and learn on my feet and this was exactly what I had been looking for. One of the most rewarding elements of working at Motability Operations is the people that you work with and yet again, I was immersed into such a friendly and supportive team – and this really helped me to thrive and gave me the confidence I needed to take action and establish myself in the role.
Support itself is something that is the foundation of the Graduate Programme; throughout my placements I’ve had constant access to advice and feedback from my mentor and sponsor. This feedback has been essential to my overall development and has offered some real perspective on my choice of career path.The trust and responsibility I have been given has made this a most rewarding year. The skill set and lessons I have learned will stay with me throughout my career and I’ll always look back at this time fondly. In terms of special highlights, I think I’d have to mention the friendship I have secured with the other graduates and in particular the countless support offered to me by my buddy.
It is almost impossible for me to comprehend that I have been in my first graduate placement since 31 October, indeed it feels as if I have been here as an appreciated member of the team for far longer, but I guess it goes to prove the old saying that, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’. The induction period made me feel more excited about the opportunity I’d been given at Motability Operations, so by the time my first day in Dealer Services came around I was very eager to get started.
I cannot quite do it justice with just words, but the culture at Motability Operations is like nowhere else. From the moment I stepped into the Bristol office everyone was friendly and accommodating, so much so that I soon forgot I was a relative newcomer. I was given plenty of time to take in my environment and meet all of my colleagues and had a fantastic and clear explanation of my role for the next six months. What really made me feel appreciated was just how much trust the company had invested in me. From my first day I was able to pro-actively achieve my own targets and take on real responsibilities; it was clear that I was making a valid and respected contribution. I have since attended senior management meetings and governance committees and I am frequently asked to input my opinions. This has greatly improved my understanding of the business as a whole and allowed me to meet many new people.
This month I also had the opportunity to take calls for Children In Need. This was a truly wonderful evening and allowed me to meet lots of different people around the business.
To conclude, I honestly could not ask for me from my current team, line manager, placement or Motability Operations. These past few weeks have far exceeded my expectations and I cannot wait to continue in the future.
Quickfire question: if you could give one piece of advice to an applicant before the assessment centre, what would it be?
The assessment centre is your day to shine and win a place on the Graduate Programme. Make the most of it by fully researching both the company and its values. Most importantly though, be yourself. I wouldn’t suggest not being nervous as I understand that this is impossible on days like an assessment centre, but please let me assure you of one thing, everyone you will meet on the day wants to see the best of you. I would encourage anyone attending these days to be fully prepared, as calm as they can be and to give it their all.
Duncan, 2011 Graduate Intake
University of Portsmouth, BA in International Relations
Business Analyst Team Leader, Business Systems, London
During his time on the Graduate Programme Duncan worked in Business Systems, Vehicle Remarketing and the Customer Contact Centre.
After finishing the Graduate Programme Duncan worked as the Pricing, Process and Governance Manager in the Asset Risk and Pricing Department. He then moved to the Business Systems department where he worked as the Apollo Business Transition Design Specialist. Duncan is now a Business Analyst Team Leader in the Business Systems department.
See below for the blog's that Duncan wrote during his time on the Graduate Programme.
I left the Graduate Programme in May 2013 to take up a management role in our Asset Risk & Pricing department. In some ways, joining the team felt like starting a new placement; saying goodbye to current colleagues, moving cities and joining a new, unfamiliar department. Just like my three previous placements, the department I joined made me feel very welcome and I quickly settled in.
In my current role, my team is responsible for pricing the ‘front end’ product for the customers. We work closely with other teams in Pricing as well as Manufacturer Relations, Specialised Mobility Operations and the manufacturers themselves to agree quarterly pricing for our cars, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and scooters. It has been a great opportunity for me to develop my technical skills, work with an array of different teams and departments, and play a leading role in pricing thousands of vehicles p/a.
Once I officially left the Graduate Programme, I was delighted to continue my relationships with my sponsor and mentor, and am able to meet with both to discuss my progress, development areas and plan next steps. Obviously this contact hasn’t been as frequent as during the Graduate Programme, but having continued support from such senior stakeholders is invaluable.
Aside from my day role, I have recently been involved in a fantastic project; looking after a section of the company Strategy Review. This annual review covers a wide array of topics, and my role was to outline the environment that our company is operating in. My section of the Strategy Review culminated in an hour long presentation to the Board of Directors, followed by a 30 minute presentation to senior management in the business. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons for being given the opportunity to be involved in this project was due to the fact I had built my knowledge and profile across the business during the Graduate Programme.
I have recently started my third and final placement on the graduate programme as a Contact Centre Manager within Customer Services. Our contact centre is the first point of contact for our 617,000 customers and I am managing 14 people who make up just one of the many teams. The Motability Operations contact centre operates on the principle of ‘One Customer, making One Call to One advisor’ – we aim to deliver tailor-made solutions to each customer’s enquiry. This means the team are highly trained and multi-skilled and are empowered to deal with the wide array of queries from our customers. This has been a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the customer side of the business as well as gaining invaluable managerial experience.
As part of the graduate programme, Jodie, Poppy and I recently presented a ‘business improvement’ suggestion to the Chief Executive and HR Director. Subsequently, I have just presented our recommendations to one of the governance committees, who have agreed the proposals in principle and will be implementing these in the coming months.
One of the benefits of the graduate programme is the opportunity to attend the Christmas parties at both our London and Bristol locations! The parties are a great opportunity to let your hair down and get to know colleagues in a more informal environment.
Quickfire question: What was your highlight from the first year of the graduate programme?
I enjoyed a variety of experiences during my first year at Motability Operations, however one of the most enjoyable was playing a key role in the successful implementation of an award winning IT project.
I have been part of the Online Sales Team for four months now, and have sold a lot of vehicles during that time. Having no prior sales experience or knowledge of cars this has been a steep learning curve, but with the help of a fantastic team I have been able to develop my negotiating skills and build strong relationships with dealers across the country.
Last week the Head of Remarketing delivered a presentation to the entire department providing an overview of the performance and key activity of both the department and the company. These regular updates are just one of a number of ways the company motivates and engages with its employees and I always find them very interesting.
Next week I am taking part in a Treasury audit and attending a key meeting to discuss our vehicle pricing strategy. I am looking forward to this opportunity as I think it will be a fascinating chance to learn more about the Treasury department and the governance around this important part of the business, as well as seeing first-hand how an audit is carried out.
As part of this placement I have also been working on a trend analysis project to produce a medium-term forecast for the Remarketing team. As well as developing my analytical skills, this has also enabled me to work with a number of teams within the department and liaise with senior management.
Quickfire question: what advice would you give to anyone completing the online application form?
Research the company, be honest in your answers, and proofread before you send.
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