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What The Apprentice Gets Wrong About Millennials

Alex Shaw in the Boardroom

For the past 12 weeks, the Great British public has been treated to another season of The Apprentice. The show aims to find Lord Sugar’s next business partner through a series of tasks that will test their business acumen, teamwork skills and ability to work under pressure. It’s pitched as a showcase of the UK’s best young business minds, and as shows go it isn’t bad entertainment. However, for me, what started as an interesting window into an innovative recruitment process has become something more like ‘Big Brother in suits’.

Alex Shaw in the Boardroom

People use likes of The Apprentice as a lazy excuse to mock ‘millennials’ but the cartoonish characters handpicked for weekly humiliation on reality TV don’t reflect our experience of a committed and thoughtful young workforce.

In my opinion, there is a stark contrast between the self-aware, hard-working and dynamic younger team members at Progeny and the candidates we see on the show. People use likes of The Apprentice as a lazy excuse to mock ‘millennials’ but the cartoonish characters handpicked for weekly humiliation on reality TV don’t reflect our experience of a committed and thoughtful young workforce. Which is why, in this blog, I’m going to take a moment to give credit to some of the young people on our team who I believe truly represent the millennial generation, and show how this new generation is going to become one we and our clients can be proud of.

Established today, for tomorrow’s advisers…

Our tagline at Progeny is that we are established for tomorrow’s wealth. But another key part of our mission is to be established for tomorrow’s advisers – our younger team members.

The clue is in our name: Progeny. The word literally means descendants, someone you pass things on to. We strive to pass on our skills and wisdom to the young people we hire, so that they will become future business leaders, rising to the top of Progeny and beyond, and inheriting what we create together. Of course, ultimately, it’s up to them to succeed. And it’s a pleasure to watch them do so.

Photo of Nicholas AstleyNick Astley, Technical Administrator

Nick has been with us for a year and a half now. I’m consistently impressed by his dedication to his job – in fact he even re-located from Preston to Leeds for the role. He shows a level of initiative that can’t be taught, always seeking new ways to do his work in a more effective and efficient way.

At Progeny, we encourage all of our team members to take the relevant exams to gain Chartered status. We do this by paying for their exams, courses and relevant study materials. Their remuneration is also directly linked to their success.

Nick can often be found working overtime to ensure that he is well prepared for the work day to come and his upcoming exams. From a standing start in July 2017, Nick has passed all six exams to attain his Diploma in Financial Planning. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he also passed his AF4 Investment Planning exam, so is on his way to achieving Chartered Financial Planner status. All this has been done while still playing a key part in the team in his current role. It’s common to characterise millennials as lazy or entitled, but Nick single-handedly proves that wrong.

Photo of Harry MackieHarry Mackie, Trainee Paraplanner

Harry joined Progeny in 2017 as a Technical Administrator. He then went on to join the Paraplanning team in April of this year.

He is currently working towards attaining his Diploma in Financial Planning, having already passed 4 exams since starting with us, and is responsible for producing suitability reports for clients. His role also includes the creation of cashflow models, which help to demonstrate the sustainability of clients’ financial plans.

Harry consistently shows an admirable level of ambition and drive, but unlike many of those on The Apprentice, he pairs this with a good dose of common sense and an excellent skillset. It’s traits like these that we look for in new team members.

Photo of Joshua CastleJoshua Castle, Paraplanner

Josh joined Progeny in 2017 as a Paraplanner. Prior to moving to Leeds and joining Progeny, he held both administrative and technical roles within financial advice firms for a number of years. He now sits on the cusp of Chartered Financial Planner status and is currently working on his final unit to achieve this very impressive feat.

As a Paraplanner, Josh works directly with more senior members of our team, providing research and analytical support. As well as being a pleasure to work with, Josh is an absolutely invaluable team player, a quality which sets him apart from the sort of self-serving, me-first mindset of the Alan Sugar wannabes.

Photo of Rachel BlytheRachel Blythe, Investment Manager

Rachel was a founding member of the Asset Management team when it was formed in 2016. Progeny itself is a young and vibrant company, which gives our team members the opportunity to be exposed to all parts of the business, which Rachel has seen first-hand.

She sits on the firm’s internal Investment Committee, is a holder of the CISI Investment Advice Diploma, and is currently working towards her Chartered Wealth Manager qualification, with only one exam left to sit (which we are all supremely confident she will pass with flying colours).

As a co-founder of the Asset Management team and a highly qualified committee member, Rachel has already amassed a level of maturity and experience that elevates her above many of her contemporaries on TV or otherwise.

Final Thoughts…

I’ve only mentioned a handful of our young people and their achievements here at Progeny and we have many more talented team members who are equally worthy of praise. However, I hope I’ve showcased in this small snapshot of the talent we have enough to remind us all to pause before we reach for another lazy stereotype of the millennial generation.

We do ourselves a disservice when we don’t invest in and nurture our young people. They are the business leaders of tomorrow, and it’s our duty (and my pleasure) to make sure they get the best possible start in their careers.

Are you a dynamic, positive and driven individual looking to work for a company like Progeny? Get in touch, we are always happy to hear from people like you…

This article is distributed for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale. This article contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily the Firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed.

Past performance is not indicative of future results and the value of investments can fall as well as rise. No representation is made that the stated results will be replicated.

Alex Shaw

Associate Director, Wealth

Alex joined the company that would become Progeny in August 2008.

Learn more about Alex Shaw