My 2017 Graduate Trainee Experience

In September, after a careful selection process, thirteen applicants were chosen out of about 7,000 to participate in VFD Group’s 2017 Graduate Trainee Programme. The programme, a 12-week intensive training period, officially began on the 26th of September. Over the course of the following nine weeks, the trainees have been exposed to real work experiences through rotational attachments to various Departments across our Subsidiaries, Mentorship sessions, problem solving opportunities, class room sessions, business targets and objectives.

Below, three of the trainees, Jemila, Oladapo and Excellent, write about their experiences so far.

Jemila Umar

Walking into the doors of VFD Group, I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. I hoped that it would be everything I expected it to be in relation to my career plan. The first week was amazing as I and my fellow trainees were introduced to the various subsidiaries, departments, Managing Directors and Unit Heads of the Group. The Managing Directors and Unit Heads are amazing people with great personalities, and are passionate and knowledgeable. They shared their real-life experiences which were relatable, and wise. We could tell that they enjoy their jobs, which was really encouraging.

Through subsequent trainings in the weeks that followed, I have been fortunate to experience first-hand learning from top facilitators. The training sessions are interactive and lively with the facilitators always open to hear our opinions. VFD Group invested a lot in giving us soft skills and technical trainings that will be very useful in our careers, which is commendable.

Through my rotational attachments in the various subsidiaries, I was able to understand the overall business better. From Forex transactions (Everdon Bureau de Change) to Loans (VFD Microfinance Bank) to Automobiles (Germaine Autos) and the list goes on. I was handling real life situations during my rotational attachments. VFD Group, being a fast-paced organization, helped me learn how to work under pressure, improved my communication skills and boosted my confidence. The learning and development opportunities in VFD Group are endless.

The environment is warm and friendly, and the people are amazing. They have an enthusiastic approach to situations, always ready to listen and lend a helping hand. Every single person in VFD Group is approachable, from the CEO down to the support staff. The Management Team also have an open-door policy where you can walk in and make suggestions or ask questions without being looked down on. They have a saying, “No question or suggestion is stupid”. This has helped to boost my confidence and make me feel welcome. We are not just colleagues, but a family. I feel lucky to work with such smart and wonderful people and I look forward to a lasting relationship with them.

VFD Group is a company that encourages hard work and entrepreneurship. They reward achievements as well which serves as a drive for staff to improve in their various careers. The work-life balance is great as they incorporate fun with work through the quarterly staff bonding activities and monthly town hall meetings. The last team bonding was at Omu Resort where we engaged in different team activities. It was a fun experience. The town hall meetings which hold on the last Friday of every month encourages a stronger bond among the team. It is a meeting I always look forward to.

Being in VFD Group has been an exciting and enlightening experience. I look forward to many more opportunities and mind-blowing experiences.

Oladapo Adeniji

My stay in VFD Group so far has been exciting, educating, inspiring and motivating. As a trainee, I had series of rotations in various subsidiaries and units of the Group. I started my rotation in the Sales Unit of VFD Microfinance Bank, and then moved to the Sales Unit of Germaine Auto Centre – both subsidiaries of the Group. I learnt so many things in these Units; from the right way to dress, to the right manner of meeting a potential or existing customer. In the Sales unit of VFD Microfinance Bank, I was privileged to attend series of in-house meetings. I learnt more about team work, seeing first-hand how the team comes together to discuss issues to help the Unit move forward.

My next rotation was in the Operations Unit of VFD Microfinance Bank. This unit is blessed with great teachers, the likes of Mercy, Seun and Dimeji. I carried out tasks like opening accounts and treating customers’ issues (which involved being a good customer service representative). I also managed accounts, issued ATM cards, processed loans, booked Fixed Deposits. In this unit, my customer service skill was honed. My two weeks in the Operations Unit were awesome.

Next, I moved to the Customer Service unit of Germaine Auto Centre. This unit ensures that customers are satisfied with the services Germaine offers. With the help of Sandra, Pamela, Elizabeth, Adolphus and Blessing, I learnt how to receive vehicles when customers come for repair, follow up on their cars till the customers’ vehicles are delivered. In this unit, I learnt patience, again my customer service skill was sharpened. Interacting with people became a thing I was expert at. I worked to ensure customers got what they needed satisfactorily whenever they came in.

On the 9th of November, I resumed at the Finance Unit of Everdon Bureau de Change, yet another subsidiary of VFD Group. The Finance team made my four days in the unit an exciting one. From Finance, I moved to the Treasury unit, one of the most important units in the group.  This unit was tasking and demanded a lot of accuracy and speed. The memory of working with Titi, Emeka, Chika and Tessy in this unit is ever memorable. I learnt to be extra careful with whatever I found myself doing. I have also built relationships with people in other banks and I now know how a typical bank works.

Enough of my work experience, now to our soft skills training and mentoring sessions. I want to say thank you to the management of the Group for organising this programme. Through these trainings, I have been able to develop various skills, and the mentoring sessions are inspiring, motivating, challenging and have been helpful in my journey through this training. I am sure these lessons will also be useful beyond the programme.

A day of the week I cherish the most is Wednesday. This is when I have the chance to see my graduate trainee colleagues and interact with them. Meeting them is one of the best things that have ever happened to me. Twelve great minds: intellectuals, beauties and brains. I tell you words cannot qualify them. I am so happy working with them. I am no longer who I used to be.

Every person, and every Unit I have worked with, and even the ones I haven’t worked directly with have impacted my life in one way or the other. Thanks to the Branding and Communications Unit for giving me the privilege to share my experience so far. I am grateful. I cannot tell it all, I think I should pause to attend to other things now.

Excellent Otemuyiwa

My VFD Group experience so far has been amazing. I have learnt and experienced so many new things in such a short period of time, and it has gone by so fast. I am still discovering all the opportunities that it has to offer me. VFD Group is a very welcoming place, and from the first day, I felt at home here. I have met many new people from different backgrounds and I am proud not just to call them colleagues but friends.

The soft skills trainings have been intense and tremendously impactful, and I enjoy every one of them. The depth and detail of what we are exposed to is far beyond my expectations. It is just amazing to think that even the tiniest details on the subatomic level can have such a huge impact.

My rotation across the various departments and subsidiaries has also been interesting and great. I can ask everyone questions and they are always willing to answer and correct me when I make mistakes. Sometimes the fast-paced environment can get out of hand and is slightly demanding. This can be stressful at times, but it happens everywhere, so it’s not a big deal.

Another thing I really enjoy about VFD Group is the work-life balance. VFD Group has created a sense of balancing work with other aspects of one’s life, socially and personally. From the open-door policy, to the monthly staff meetings, to the quarterly staff bonding events.

It’s hard to believe that I have been at VFD Group for nine weeks already. It  has been a great experience and I plan to make the most out of it.


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