Graduate Programme - What's it all about?
The DLG Graduate Programme is a three-year rotational programme that trains people to become future leaders of our business.
It’s open to anyone with a good honours degree who also has the ability to work in an ever-changing environment. Sacha and Eliot, who’ve been working in the Digital team for the last nine months, filled us in on their experiences so far…
What were you doing before you joined the DLG Graduate Programme?
Sacha: I studied accounting and financial management at university, and did some work experience in an accountancy firm for a while. That made me realise that accounting definitely wasn’t something I wanted to do full-time, it just wasn’t me. So, in my final year of uni I started looking around for what to do next and discovered the Graduate Programme.
Eliot: I was studying business and management at Durham University. I applied for a couple of graduate schemes and had a few interviews, but the one at DLG really stood out the most to me, and thankfully they offered me a place.
What made you want to apply for the DLG Graduate Programme?
Sacha: For me it was the rotational aspect that appealed most, as I knew it would give me the chance to try out different roles in various departments around the business. I also liked that it’s a big company, and the fact that it’s not too far from home was a bonus too.
Eliot: The rotational aspect really appealed to me too, because I wasn’t sure which specific area I wanted to work in when I finished uni. I also thought it sounded like a really good opportunity because DLG hadn’t taken in any grads since 2012, so it seemed like a chance to get involved in shaping something new.
How have you found your first year here?
Sacha: When I was told I was going to spend my first year in Digital I really didn’t know what to expect, but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. The culture here is really good, which is not how I thought it would be at a large insurance company. It’s definitely changed my perspective.
I also didn’t think I’d be given as much responsibility as I have. For example, in my first month here I had to present to around 100 people, which was pretty nerve-racking. I’ve also learned a lot, as I started off as product manager for Pet, Life and Travel before moving to become product manager of SEO. I didn’t know too much about SEO before I joined, but now I’m becoming a lot more confident in it.
Eliot: On my first day I pretty much turned up wearing a suit, which was way too smart compared to my new colleagues in Digital where the dress code is a lot more casual. So all the smart clothes I’d just bought for work had to go back into the wardrobe.
Straightaway I was given the role of scrum master on the mobile apps team, and then moved over to the blog team. This is essentially like a project manager role, but you’re working for the team instead of as the head of the team. It really taught me a lot in terms of how to motivate people and how to make sure that things run smoothly. Often I’d have to notice problems before they occurred and then prevent them from happening.
Now I’m working in the Green Flag team, dealing with both SIP (Strategic Investment Plan) projects and BAU (business as usual), so I get to see how two different processes work.
What has impressed you the most about DLG?
Sacha: A lot of companies have mission statements that sound good to outsiders but mean very little to the people who actually work there. Here though I genuinely think that what Paul Geddes (CEO of DLG) says about the culture does actually feed down. He says to “bring all of yourself to work” and I think that people really do that here. You don’t have to wait to meet people outside of work to really get to know them, like you do in so many other places. People are really themselves here.
Eliot: I haven’t worked in any large organisations before, but I’ve found everyone here to be very supportive. If you have the desire to go and learn something or get involved in something, people actually want to help you. I love that, and so far I’ve had the chance to be part of some design and UX workshops. I’ve also got my scrum master certification. The company is great at giving back if you want to put yourself forward for things.
What’s next for both of you?
Sacha: I’m going to spend six months in the marketing department here in Bromley. And then, from March next year I’m going to work in the motor claims department of the Leeds call centre. I think it’ll be a really good way to get to know the ins and outs of the motor side of the business, as well as understanding things more from a customer’s perspective and learning how to deal with people better.
Eliot: I’ll be working in corporate secretariat for six months, and then I’m heading up to Leeds with Sacha. Actually we’re going to be sharing a flat together so we’re really excited. Some people weren’t keen on the relocation part of the programme, but we’re definitely looking forward to it. Then we’ll both be back down in Bromley for a further year in a placement role, before we make a decision about what to do next.
To find out more about our Graduate Programme and to apply to join us in September 2017, please visit our DLG Early Careers website.