"I am really proud of Ella and Mark, and the way the whole team have pulled together to support each other and provide continuity of service to our members and business partners."
Healthy Investment, the Bury-headquartered financial institution, has taken on two new staff members during the coronavirus lockdown. Mark Dodman has joined the business as a Business Development Executive while Ella Bailey has been appointed as a Business Administration Apprentice.
Healthy Investment, which was founded in 1835, is a friendly society that provides savings and investment products to more than 110,000 members, who are also its owners. It employs 13 people at its headquarters in the Old Court House on the edge of Bury town centre.
Before starting his new role Mr Dodman worked as a client care manager for a firm of independent financial advisers (IFAs) based in Salford. As a Business Development Executive he now deals with and supports the financial advisers who recommend Healthy Investment’s products to their clients.
These products include ISAs, junior ISAs and investment bonds, all of which are invested according to ethical principles. Mr Dodman said that, having previously worked for a firm of IFAs, and also for another mutually owned insurance company, he was attracted by the ethical basis of Healthy Investment’s products and by the prospect of working with IFAs.
The coronavirus lockdown meant Mr Dodman had to start his new role working from home, and received his induction into the business remotely via Zoom. He said, “I can’t deny that it has been a challenge, particularly in terms of the ongoing interaction with colleagues that you would usually have when starting a new job.
“However, I have been impressed by the daily Zoom meetings that I have had with my colleagues. These have been great in terms of support and being able to raise any issues and questions that I have.”
Ms Bailey has actually been able to attend the office, where staff numbers have been limited by strict social distancing measures that the business has implemented. However, she too admitted to having initially been worried about starting a new job in a situation where physical distancing might make training difficult.
She said, “Before I started I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to learn my job if colleagues couldn’t come near me to show me how to do different tasks. But it has actually worked out really well because I have training notes to help me and my colleagues have been guiding me through tasks verbally rather than coming over and pointing at my screen.”
Ms Bailey, who previously worked in retail, said she decided to take on an apprenticeship because she wanted to gain experience in an office while learning on the job. She said she was attracted to Healthy Investment in particular because of its reputation.
Healthy Investment has a well-developed apprenticeship programme and a number of its former apprentices have built successful careers within the business. These include Jerrol Ainsworth, who joined Healthy Investment a decade ago and now leads the Member Services team in which Ms Bailey works.
Peter Green, Chief Executive of Healthy Investment, said, “I am really proud of Ella and Mark, and the way the whole team have pulled together to support each other and provide continuity of service to our members and business partners in circumstances that none of us would have chosen. Nothing can replace face-to-face interaction with colleagues but we are fortunate that we have great staff and strong, well-documented processes so colleagues can work together effectively while maintaining social distance.”