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Apprentice Douglas is counting on a career in finance with Morgan Stanley

#ScotAppWeek24 Apprenticeships

Three years into his apprenticeship, Douglas Steer is already showing Morgan Stanley what he is worth. 

The 19-year-old has worked out how to automate a highly technical accounting procedure that used to take a week to process. Thanks to Douglas it can be done in a day, freeing up colleagues to get on with other tasks. 

He has also automated other processes, fixed bugs and mistakes and generally helped his department work more efficiently.   

Douglas Steer

It’s the dream job for Douglas, from Lanark, who has loved numbers since he was young. Now he’s a Modern Apprentice with the international financial services firm, he can translate his passion for figures into a job where he gets to earn while he trains. 

Douglas was guided towards an apprenticeship by his big brother, who went down the graduate route. His pupil support teacher at Lanark High School also pointed him towards Morgan Stanley.  

After an information evening he applied for a finance apprenticeship with the international financial services company. It ticked all his boxes - an on-the-job qualification taken over three years, all while working with numbers. 

It’s been a great decision for 19-year-old Douglas, who is in his third year with the company.  

He said: “For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to work in finance. I loved working with numbers from an early age. As a child I was always asking people to give me sums.” 

His role changes every year, allowing him to learn different aspects of the business. He has mastered liquidity reporting, compensation accounting and is now in the tax department. 

Douglas said: “I have loved being able to gain experience across three of the biggest teams within Morgan Stanley Glasgow’s Finance Division. I have expanded my knowledge within each of the functions and how they impact the bigger picture within the firm.” 

He excelled in his classes, bringing the determination he showed in the workplace to his studies. His tutor said: “Douglas had questions on most topics and was keen to deepen his understanding. From the start he demonstrated employability skills such as timekeeping and attention to detail. His commitment was also evident when he had to miss some classes due to having an operation. He caught up in his own time and passed his exams first time.” 

I have worked with people from all over the globe and at all levels of the business, exposure I would never have experienced if I had taken another path.
Douglas Steer

Douglas Steer, Scottish Apprenticeship Awards finalist

Douglas has learned so much during his time with Morgan Stanley, from prioritisation, handling deadlines and teamwork.  

He added: “I have worked with people from all over the globe and at all levels of the business, exposure I would never have experienced if I had taken another path.” 

Working as a Modern Apprentice at Morgan Stanley has given Douglas an enviable level of financial security and independence. He lives with his family in Lanark and has bought a car that both he and his mum use. 

He is now hoping to buy a property closer to Glasgow. 

His Modern Apprenticeship has given him the job security to make these big financial decisions before he is even 20.   

Douglas stressed: “I’m confident I will have a job come the end of the apprenticeship which I wouldn’t necessarily have had following university.  I will continue with my exams and to learn and grow, both personally and professionally, here at Morgan Stanley.” 

The company are impressed with the progress Douglas has made. Margaret Johnson from Morgan Stanley’s Human Resource department said: “Douglas joined his current team with a glowing reference from his previous rotation and even then, exceeded the expectations we had for him.  

“He is constantly looking for additional work to help the team and has set the standard for future apprentices.” 

They have watched him blossom as he deals with high-level colleagues and finds his public speaking voice. 

Margaret added: “Douglas’s confidence has grown significantly during his apprenticeship. He does not shy away from asking questions to senior stakeholders. He has exceeded expectations when it comes to his presentation skills.” 

Douglas’s commitment does not stop at the end of the working day. He is on the steering committee of the Young Professionals Network, where he has connected with colleagues in the company’s Glasgow and London offices. 

It’s this constant commitment to improving his own and his team’s performance that has won Douglas a place on the shortlist for Modern Apprentice of the Year SCQF Level 6+. 

Find out more

The winner of the Modern Apprentice of the Year SCQF Level 6+ will be revealed during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which takes place from 4 to 8 March.

Find out more