- Name: Craig Ballantyne
- Role: Business Support Manager - Finance
- University: University of Manchester
- Degree: 1st BA ECON Accounting and Finance
I have worked for Pilkington for two and half years, starting in 2005 on the finance graduate scheme. The graduate scheme lasts for about three years, although it can be finished earlier depending on exams and job opportunities. During the scheme graduates move around the company gaining lots of different finance experience whilst studying for their CIMA qualification.
Whilst I was on the graduate scheme, I enjoyed working within Group Finance, Group Internal Audit and for Building Products Europe. This experience has given me a good grounding for my future career at Pilkington and has enabled me to develop not only my finance and business knowledge, but also my knowledge of the company.
During my time on the finance graduate scheme, I was fortunate to work with many different people from all different functions and at all different levels. One thing that I have particularly enjoyed during the graduate scheme is having exposure to senior people within the organisation. During my second year I was responsible for preparing and presenting the consolidated European Building Products monthly results to the European Finance Director.
All finance graduates will have different work experiences during the three years, but as a guide, I completed 3 placements during the graduate scheme.
I worked for the first year in Group Finance - this involved working within both the Group Treasury and Group Accounting functions.
Most of my second year was spent working within the Building Products European business. Typical work in this department included consolidating the European monthly results, budgets and forecasts. I also produced the monthly results booklet which was circulated to all senior management within the European Building Products business.
I spent a number of weeks within Group Internal Audit which gave me opportunities to travel around Europe and see different parts of the Pilkington business whilst learning more about the importance of internal controls within our company and how to help the businesses and sites to implement them.
I finished the graduate scheme within two years and I was given the opportunity to come and work in Kuala Lumpur in my current role. Even though I feel like I have been thrown into the deep end in this new role with more important responsibilities, there is always someone to help or give guidance when needed so the learning and support doesn’t finish when the graduate scheme does. Plus, writing this around the swimming pool certainly helps ease any pressure.
Pilkington is a CIMA Quality Partner meaning that all finance graduates are given lots of support when combining their study with a full time job. Every finance graduate is given substantial financial support towards obtaining the qualification and time off is also granted at each stage of the exams.
Being surrounded by people, who are at different stages of the graduate programme, and therefore at different stages of their CIMA qualification, is a great benefit as well. They understand the pressures of combining the two and are genuinely interested in helping you pass your exams.
As in numerous companies, the exams coincide with the year end and half year end reporting periods but all colleagues / management still stress that your exams and qualification come first. The revision courses are during work time and all graduates are allowed to take time off work in order to attend the revision courses and sit the exams.