GRENKE UK’s apprenticeship programme began in November 2019 with the recruitment of six college leavers wanting to learn about business. It wasn’t quite the training model that the company planned – the pandemic meant it had to swiftly adapt its programme – but it has proved to be so successful that it’s about to recruit its next cohort.
Of the original six who started their apprenticeships in 2019, three still work at GRENKE. Matt Colleer is one of them. Having particularly enjoyed Business A level, Matt decided to pursue an apprenticeship in Business Administration with GRENKE instead of going to university. Now an account manager, we chatted to him about his career so far.
What inspired you to do an apprenticeship at GRENKE?
When I left college, I really liked the idea of working and continuing to study – I felt I would learn more. I also didn’t want to risk going to university and starting a course that I might not enjoy. So, that’s what encouraged me to start looking at apprenticeship opportunities.
I had already applied for some jobs when I came across GRENKE’s apprenticeship programme. When I started to look into what GRENKE could offer me, I was inspired not only by the size of the business but also that it’s an international finance company. I felt that a company like this would give me the platform to build on what I’d already learned during my business A level. After I applied, I met GRENKE’s HR team, Beverley McGlone and Jordane Wilder, and I really enjoyed talking to them. It was clear from the outset that GRENKE has a supportive culture and values its employees.
What challenges did you experience?
During my apprenticeship, the combination of work and study made life quite busy and I had to learn to manage my time. But, I was lucky because I was able to do some of my study in the office and I juggled it whilst meeting all my work deadlines. The pandemic definitely made my job more challenging especially because all of a sudden everyone was working from home. At the same time, it gave me the opportunity to learn new things, as I took on different responsibilities. The highlight was stepping into the account manager role early after one of my colleagues left to take up another position. I was able to build up my skillset, which I really enjoyed.
Describe what leadership and teamwork skills you’ve learned.
I’ve definitely learned more about leadership and teamwork. I’ve built good relationships with all my colleagues. When new people join the team, I help to train them, which helps me to get to know them. I enjoy training and now I’ve had a taste of it, I find it exciting. Having said that, there is still so much more for me to learn and I watch the example of GRENKE’s management team to pick up more tips. To be a good leader, I think it’s very important to take the time to understand people, what motivates them and how they work.
What do you particularly enjoy at GRENKE?
I work for GRENKE Invoice Finance and I have a very good working relationship with the UK managing director, James Williamson, and with Armand Roux, the sales director. While I have been with the company, they have given me more projects to work on which is great because I enjoy the challenge. I was also lucky enough to be in the right place when an official opportunity for an account manager role came up which I got. It meant I was able to stay with the company after I finished my apprenticeship. Of course, there are times when it’s hectic and my workload suddenly increases but as I get more experience I’m finding it more manageable.
Where do you see your career in 5 years’ time?
I started working for GRENKE Invoice Finance at a very interesting time as the business is growing quickly. It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops as well as being a part of it. I enjoy working with our clients – I love getting positive feedback from the external professional relationships I have built. I’d like to take on more responsibility and progress, and perhaps become a team leader or a project manager. I do particularly enjoy finance and it’s a field I’d like to stay in, as there’s scope to change paths if I want to.
How do you spend your time when you’re not at work?
I love football and I have played since I was at school! I play for a men’s Saturday team and I’m a big supporter of my local team, Woking FC. I go to as many of their matches up and down the country as I can get to! I also enjoy spending time with family and friends.
Finally, what three words would you use to describe yourself?
Congratulations Matt on your career to date – what an amazing journey!
GRENKE’s next apprenticeship programme begins in autumn 2023. Are you a college leaver interested in a career in business? We’d love to hear from you. Send your CV to [email protected].