July is always a busy time in our office because we are helping our work experience students experience different aspects of the work we do and give them a sense of what career prospects exist in the financial sector. We have two students this year – one from Ursuline High School and one from Wimbledon College. We think it’s essential that young people are given the opportunity to get out into a real work environment to see how businesses work. We also think that being a SME business we offer an opportunity that isn’t replicated amongst the big corporate companies who tend to take a large number of students for work experience and internships. In our business the students will experience all aspects of how a business runs because the action happens within four rooms in Wimbledon rather than 400 different departments globally. Sometimes it’s not glamorous – making sure we have enough cleaning products for the cleaner – but this is a true reflection of running and working in a SME.
Work experience also helps fulfil our objectives as a business to educate young people about finance and to give something back to the local community. We find it pretty scary that students leave school without a good grounding in finance, for example, knowing what a pension is, how it works and how it can help them. With the changes currently taking place with Auto Enrolment pension legislation, we need to make sure our young people understand that the choices they make today have a major financial impact many years later when they come to make that decision about when they stop working.
Here is what one of our students said of her time here:
“The week and a half of work experience at Gem & Co Financial Services LLP has given me experience in the world of work that I can use in the future for any following jobs that I may have. During the 10 days, I have learned more about financial planning such as pensions, mortgages and investments that their clients can have. I have also learned how to submit client data onto their operating system using various software like Voyant, Excel, Microsoft Dynamics and Curo. As well as the back office, I was informed about the basic marketing methods that the business uses in order to gain more clients and provide first-rate customer service. Overall, the 10 days at Gem & Co have taught me more about the financial industry and how it operates on a day to day basis.”