View of brunette young woman swathed in a beige scarf sitting against a backdrop of blooming daffodils in a conservatory.
Stephanie Kavanagh. Image: Fidelity Investments

Why you should invest in training for your graduates

8 Aug 2019

Stephanie Kavanagh from Fidelity Investments explains how the training she was offered contributed to her decision to continue to grow her career with the company.

Wouldn’t it be great to encounter the best talent from early on in their careers, retain them and see them reach their full potential?

It’s somewhat of a holy grail for employers, as shown by the recent trend of tech companies introducing programmes at third level, or even second level. ‘Get them while they’re young’, perhaps.

Yet just because these people get into your company doesn’t mean that they’ll stay. Exposure and retention are completely different things and the latter is a more complex beast.

‘I knew how much Fidelity invested in training and my main objective was to build on the skills that I learnt during my degree’

So how do you keep your best workers? Make it clear that you value them and are invested in their development from the moment they walk in the door.

It certainly worked for Stephanie Kavanagh, a computer scientist who first started with Fidelity Investments as an intern and liked it so much she stayed with them as a graduate. It suited her for many reasons, but one element she highlights as confirming her commitment to the firm was the training she received early on.

For more of Kavanagh’s perspective, read on.

What did you study in college?

BSc in Computing at the Institute of Technology, Tallaght.

With this programme, are you now working in your desired industry?

Yes, I have always had an interest in technology. Since starting my degree, I knew I wanted a job in programming and problem-solving. My degree gave me a taste of the technology industry and the Fidelity Leap graduate technology programme built on this in a very practical way.

What drew you to Fidelity Investments when you were seeking work as a graduate?

I started at Fidelity Investments as an intern and really enjoyed my time there, from the work I was involved in to the culture. I decided I wanted to pursue a career with them through the graduate programme as it seemed like a great way to transition from college to career.

What expectations did you have before you began the programme?

I had good expectations going into the graduate programme after hearing of positive experiences from previous graduates, what they had learnt and seeing what they had achieved in their careers. I knew how much Fidelity invested in training and my main objective was to build on the skills that I learnt during my degree.

What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?

The first stage of the programme was participating in classroom-based training. There was a lot of collaboration and teamwork. We were separated into groups to work on a case study, which brought all of the skills we learnt during different stages of the programme together.

Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?

Yes, the first part of the programme consisted of classroom training, while the second half of the programme involved working on a project which provided value to the business.

For our project work, we were challenged to work with an existing project team, integrating with developers of all levels and experience. This was a great experience and helped to develop many skills from programming, teamwork, collaboration to problem-solving.

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

A typical day in my current role as a software engineer is very similar to the project phase of the Leap graduate programme, which goes to show how much the programme prepares you for career work. I feel that having a similar structure to the project phase of the graduate programme really helped with transitioning from graduate to professional.

In the morning I work on a task that is assigned to me by my project lead.

At 9.45 I attend a morning stand-up with my team of eight like-minded but differently skilled software engineers. During this time, everyone gives an update of what they are working on and highlights any blockers they may be facing. The team discusses solutions and shares experiences for team development.

I will then continue to work on the task that was assigned to me in the morning. Sometimes I will pair program to get my task done.

How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees’?

The project phase of the graduate programme allowed me to work on real business cases, with support from our respective teams when needed. This was a great opportunity as the responsibilities were very similar to those of an experienced employee, including effective team communication, programming, problem-solving and using Agile working practices.

Do you feel more prepared for working life after completing this programme?

Yes, the transition from college to the working world can be challenging. I feel both the technical training and the project phase, which helped me to develop soft skills, gave me a great start in a professional environment and a well-rounded experience of working life.

Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at Fidelity Investments?

Fidelity Investments provides valuable opportunities to learn and develop, from talks and workshops in the latest technologies to Hackathons – there are always new things to get involved in.

The Leap graduate programme is a great learning opportunity with a great support network. The graduate programme has an alumni network, which gives the graduates a way to keep in touch and learn from each other, so you really receive everything you need to start your career in tech.

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