Oliver Lee, ROMERO INSURANCE BROKERS' Graduate Broking Assistant
Based at our Nottingham branch, Oliver is one of our excellent new graduates training to become a broker. He is a trusted and valued member of the team, having certainly made a positive impact in his first 12 months with the business.
We celebrate his one year anniversary by discussing his time with the company; what his impressions are of work over the last 12 months, as well as his hobbies and interests.
How long have you been working at Romero?
I’ve been working at Romero exactly 12 months, it’s my one year anniversary today. It’s been a solid 12 months I’d say – I think I’ve developed as a character within the team and I’ve really enjoyed it.
Where were you employed before?
I’ve come from a marquee company, a completely different background; I’ve never worked in a corporate environment. I’d always worked in mechanical jobs, labouring jobs. At the marquee company: I was there for five months, travelling up and down the country to different sites. It was a stop-gap until the right opportunity arose, which it eventually did in Romero Insurance Brokers
How did you fall into insurance?
David Wagstaff referred me through a family member. I’d not long finished my A-levels in finance and business, and David had said Romero was looking for apprentices for the graduate scheme.
How did your first day look like at Romero Insurance Brokers?
I was part of the induction programme for the grad scheme which lasted two to three weeks based in the Leeds office. I made my own way there but the company did offer travel, paying for train tickets. They paid for a hotel room for a few weeks which was fun and made me feel welcomed. The first day in Leeds, we had an introduction, learned who we’d be working with, and were introduced to each department, each member of the team. It was very much ‘This is us’ and ‘This is how we’ll look after you’.
What has struck you about the environment at the Nottingham branch?
We’re quite a small team compared to the head office, I feel I thrive in environments like that. We’ve got different account exec here and work is split but we are always digging in to help each, especially when someone is away. It’s very supportive, if one person has had a bad day, the whole office is there for them. It’s not often you get such support in a workplace, where everyone gets along.
How important is a healthy social workplace environment?
The welfare of the staff comes first. I’ve never been a part of ant organisation where they treat the staff so well. We were taken out and treated at different venues during the induction process. We went out with management into Leeds as a group – we did an escape room, had a meal and drinks. It created a lot of time to bond with people outside of work.
You’ve got your Christmas venues, Christmas events, quarterly nights out. Each team has their own nights out, sometimes faces from Leeds come down and we go out for drinks together into Nottingham.
What would you say to someone who’s joined a branch office at Romero?
With it being a compact environment, it almost feels like expectations are quite high. The thing that I first realised is that everyone is very tight nit in terms of relationships and workloads, so getting involved can be… – not necessarily intimidating – but there is a high standard to meet. However, I’d say not to worry because as long as you are putting in the effort you are going to get all the support you ask for and more.
So, come in with a good mindset a just be positive, and it will all be reciprocated.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve owned?
I own an MGB GT 1978, bright yellow, I’ve owned it for about a month or so now, it’s a little project car of mine. I aim to take it on a track day.
What is your perfect Sunday?
If football’s not on, I’d be working on my car, doing modifications, learning new things about the car, taking it to bits for no reason just to put it back together.
Are you a member of any clubs?
I’m a member of the MG owners club, mainly because you get discounted parts. It involves lot of networking, just as there is networking in insurance. Skills translate well over into the car world; you’d be surprised how far those skills get you.
Do you cook?
Yes, I actually enjoy cooking. Their is massive craze going on with air fryers – I managed to get the whole of the Nottingham office each to buy an air fryer.
I air fry anything and everything. The only thing you don’t put in an air fryer though is a burger, that’s got to go in a pan!
How has working at Romero changed your impression of work in general?
Prior to Romero I’ve worked on labouring jobs – putting up marquees, as a mechanic for Renault – they’ve all been pretty physically intensive jobs and you find the company welfare of the staff is very different. I’ve found you always felt pressured by management, felt micro-managed. It was never comfortable.
At Romero, I’ve learned that managers don’t have to micro-manage to get the best out of their staff. Because of this, I’ve felt more motivated to work and I’ve excelled. The whole structure, values, environment at Romero basically build on that view that welfare of the staff is number one. Work productivity and happiness of the staff is ten-fold.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could take one book, one luxury and one song, what would they be?
One book: Ant Middleton’s SAS Who Dares Wins
One luxury: I’d take my PS4, granted there’s probably no WIFI
One song: Blinding Lights by The Weekend