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Charlotte Pickersgill

Skipton Direct – Mortgage Adviser

“I joined Skipton In January 2014. I’d heard that it was a great place to work and had just finished university after studying journalism and was looking for a job that I would really enjoy. I didn’t have any previous financial service experience but as soon as I got the job, my knowledge grew quickly. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions as I had lots of help and encouragement from my colleagues and Manager. My hard work and commitment really paid off as a short time later, my manager asked if I was interested in taking professional qualifications to develop myself further and create an opportunity to become a qualified mortgage adviser. Skipton would cover the cost and support me throughout my learning. I couldn’t believe it. In all honesty, I didn’t know if I would have a career at Skipton but after passing my exams and being successful at interview, I am now proud to be a Mortgage Adviser and couldn’t be happier. I love coming to work every day to talk to our customers and work with my colleagues. I really feel that Skipton Building society stands out from other employers through recognition, reward and providing so many opportunities for its people.

In 2015 I was lucky enough to be chosen to go on our annual awards trip to Berlin. I met lots of different people from around the Society and it was such an amazing experience. This has made me want to keep on learning and developing to reach my full potential”

Fiona Whittet

Branch – Customer Review Adviser – Perth

“I have been at Skipton for over 14 years now and started when I was just 19 years old. I had no previous experience of working in Financial Services and I had just finished my A levels. I wanted a career rather than just a ‘job’ and I felt that Skipton could really offer me that.  My first role was as a Support Adviser based in Lancaster, but also covering all the branches in the North West Region. I loved the variety of the role and it really helped me get to meet lots of people and gain knowledge.

After a year, I was approached by my Regional Manager to see if I would be interested in working in Kendal. I jumped at the chance and went on to become a full time Customer Adviser there. I loved being part of the team and stayed there for a further two years before returning back to my original role as a Support Adviser in Lancaster. At this point I was offered the opportunity to study for a Mortgage qualification and I applied to be the Branch Manager of Dundee. My partner was working for Skipton in Scotland at the time (we met through work and are now married!) and I took the opportunity to move to Scotland to progress my career and give my long distance relationship a go.

I became Branch Manager aged 22 and carried on studying during my first year as a manager, as well as attending Leadership development programmes to help me settle in to my new role. Skipton funded all my qualifications and I trained to become a qualified mortgage and insurance adviser, with the help and support of my Training Development Adviser. The branch went from being at the bottom of every league table to qualifying for various incentives and I qualified to go to Paris and London through the incentive trips. In September 2011 I went on maternity leave and after a year off with my daughter, decided to return to work part time. Skipton were so accommodating. I chose to come back two and half days a week as a Customer Review Adviser and dropped down to working two days after the birth of my second child in 2013. I now work in Perth branch as Derek, my husband, now manages the branch in Dundee. Although my hours are part time now and my role different, I really feel I still get the opportunity to put my experience to use. I have mentored new colleagues, carried out training sessions and given presentations on my successes at Branch Manager meetings. I will always be grateful for the opportunities that Skipton has given me and the support I have had to be able to maintain a career that fits around my family life. I really enjoy my role because no two appointments are ever the same. I love getting to know our customers, hearing about their families, their holidays, aspirations and dreams. It’s so rewarding when we can help them.

Skipton is a wonderful company to work for and there is great scope for progression.”

Robert Woolmer

IT Solutions Delivery Specialist

“I started working for Skipton in December 2007 after originally working behind the bar at a local pub in town. A few people used to come in from IT who I’d get chatting with and they suggested I apply. I didn’t even have a GCSE in IT but they explained I didn’t need to be ‘techy’ at all. I learnt on the job and just kept going! Since then I’ve held various roles within IT and have worked my way up to the IT Solutions Delivery team which is responsible for the design and implementation of new technologies.

Throughout my career at Skipton I’ve been supported along the way by some great people, both Managers and colleagues alike.  I have been provided with the environment and help needed to allow me to progress and constantly challenge myself.

Even though it sounds corny, it really is the people and culture that makes Skipton a great place to work.  Everyone is always willing to help each other out and really pulls together to ensure we keep on delivering for our customers.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support I’ve received and it really would take a lot to make me look elsewhere for another job.  I have regular one to ones with my Line Manager where I am given the structure and coaching to succeed.  I always leave our meetings feeling motivated and invigorated.

Skipton really is a great place to work.  For anyone thinking of applying I’d just say that as long as you are willing to put the work in and embrace our values, then you’ll go far!  I’ve been lucky to make some great friends whilst working here and really do feel that all departments work together for the benefit of the Society and our customers.”

Andrew Conally

Skipton Financial Advice Client Servicing Manager

“After having worked in Financial Services for the last 14 years, I joined Skipton 4 years ago for a role in the Financial Advice direct business centre. I can whole heartedly say that my time here has been by a long way the happiest, most satisfying and fulfilling in my career to date.   I have worked for many other banks and building Societies in roles ranging from a telephone claims adviser to Mortgage Adviser. This may sound a little far fetched, however, from the instant I walked into the main office for my interview, I felt the positive atmosphere and buzz of the place which instantly made me want to be a part of Skipton. I have been part of team building experiences, whacky Olympics and even done a 5km Santa fun run! You get a real sense that the leadership team genuinely care, something which I feel is missing from many work places today.

As well as the great social and team ethos, there is a commitment to providing colleagues with training and qualifications.  I have progressed from setting up appointments on the phones to carrying out financial advice appointments as a client servicing manager.  I have gained a huge wealth of knowledge over the years and was offered an opportunity to study for a Diploma in financial advice which will allow me to qualify as a financial adviser.   I really feel this is a great example of how the Society thinks out of the box to provide opportunities for colleagues and to help deliver the best possible service for customers. I have benefitted from personal and professional investment and feel I am a valued member of the team. I would recommend any friend or family to work here and am looking forward to a very long and successful future.”

Pam Sykes

Operations – Customer Journey Design Leader

“I started working for Skipton building society nearly 17 years ago. I came from a retail background and although I didn’t think I could offer much in way of financial service experience, I knew I could make a difference in providing brilliant customer service.

I wasn’t wrong and within my first 12 months of employment, I made a few suggestions on what we could do differently. I was always amazed at how much the Society really listens to their people and their ideas and how much support and guidance I was given to take my ideas forward.

After 12 months of working here I was given the opportunity to study to become a mortgage adviser. I had never had much luck with studying before so I set up a group with other colleagues so we could get together after work to help each other along the way. This worked really well and within 12 months I passed all 3 exams.

This is pretty much how my career continued, lots of opportunities that I’ve grabbed with both hands. I felt that as a person I put in 100% and Skipton has invested 100% which was key to my development.

I believe in who we are and what we are trying to achieve. I also believe you get out what you put in. Our culture has developed over the years and I have been able to develop with it. I sometimes think that we’re way ahead of other organisations in the way we treat each other with respect and that behaviour is key to how you achieve objectives.

I love been a part of something that’s forward moving, something that allows me to move with it and develop personally.”

Simon Tipton

Intermediary – Relationship Manager

“I started working at Skipton in April 2004 as a temporary member of staff whilst at University. I was a call taker for mortgage and savings customers phoning direct about their accounts. After finishing University, I took up the role full time although longer term I had no idea what role or industry I wanted to be in (it was just nice not to be a skint student!).

After 8 months I took up the role as a Mortgage Underwriter. I worked up to become a team leader within New Lending over a 5 year period.

At this time my career took a different path based on the external factors that reduced mortgage lending. I was always interested in excel and management information, so when a seconded role in Credit Risk became available, I took the opportunity and later developed into a Business Information Manager leading a team of analysts.

My time in Business Information gave me the opportunity to work with key stakeholders across different business areas and I soon moved into a Commercial Finance role. I spent 18 months here, before moving into my current role as an Intermediary Relationship Manager, where I develop business relationships with mortgage brokers who recommend Skipton to mortgage customers.

Skipton has given me diverse opportunities in a range of roles, supporting my development whilst offering challenge and stretch to take on more senior roles as my experience grew. It’s a fantastic organisation to work for, and provides opportunities for those who work hard and are prepared to challenge themselves to develop personally as well as professionally. The best thing about working for Skipton is (by far) the people. It genuinely cares about its customers and doing the right thing by them. It has a fantastic culture and is a fun place to work.

Skipton has helped me build my confidence and focus and given me a career working for a company that I would never want to leave.”

Sara Travers

Operations – Customer Outcomes and Quality Assurance Leader

“I’ve worked at Skipton for over 13 years and in my current role for 9 months. I came straight from school after completing my A levels and I wanted to learn about the Society, what they had to offer and ultimately gain a career. I worked in the administration team dealing with general customer queries and supported the credit management team in contacting customers to gain proposals and repayment of mortgage arrears. I moved to work for Amber in 2007, a subsidiary of the Society, and my role was to conduct oversight and governance checks on our third party administrator. I progressed within Amber to a Senior Consultant role and then became Manager in 2013. A role then came up within the Society for a Customer Outcomes & Quality Assurance Leader in December 2015, this team provide quality assurance across for all Operations.

I think Skipton is all about people. Everyone supports and challenges you so that you can seek out opportunities and achieve what you set out to do. I’ve been given a vast amount of support over the years from peers and Leaders. I’ve had coaching, support and guidance whenever I’ve needed it. I’ve always felt empowered and trusted in whatever I do, making me feel part of the Society and valued.

The Society invests in people and there are many courses and workshops to choose from to support your personal development. I was able to complete the CF1 & CF6 mortgage advice qualifications, which help with my role when conducting quality checks.  I’ve also completed our Modern Leaders programme, one of the best experiences in my career. I learnt about my own style, my team and how to adapt to various situations. Through Modern Leaders, I found that the most important thing you learn about is YOU! For me, this is key to understanding how you work, your strengths and development areas. I also help facilitate and participate in training programmes and I’ve recently started mentoring other colleagues.  There are always new opportunities to get involved in, new people to meet people and things to learn.

I’m proud to say I work for the Society, I believe in what we are trying to achieve and the Society’s values are my values.

My advice to anybody thinking of applying would be to DO IT, EMBRACE IT and LIVE IT. The Society offers so much and you really feel that you can make a difference. If you want a career that is rewarding then my advice is to apply, don’t even think twice.”

Rik Andrews

Senior Intermediary Marketing Manager

“I joined Skipton over 13 years ago for a temporary position, whilst I worked out what I wanted to do for a career. However, not long after starting work, it became clear that Skipton was somewhere that I would be able to build a career.

Over the years I have moved from the contact centre, to a branch, then on to Marketing before settling in Products. Now I have been given the opportunity to lead a team in marketing and I love every minute of it. Skipton have been supportive of me every step of the way, recognising my ambition and helping develop my skills through Modern Leaders and talent development programmes. The people I work with feel more like family than colleagues, for a large organisation it still has the feel of a family run business.

I would recommend Skipton Building Society to anybody who is looking for an organisation who develops their people and gives them an opportunity to achieve their career goals.”