My First Week at Aperture – Zoey Robinson

Posted: 13th Sep 2017

Monday morning. 9 am.

The only place I wanted to be was asleep in bed but instead, I stood in a bustling office floor, with coffee aroma filling the air, it was my first day at Aperture. With my expectations securely buckled down, as to not get them up, I went in expecting my new job to be just that, a job where I went, worked and went home from. We’ve all heard, and for most, probably experienced, the monotonous tasks an intern or newbie faces when starting a new job, so why should mine be any different?

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I spent my first week, not how I imagined. Absent where the long, boring people & policy talks, the waitressing for managers or the admin work no one wanted to do. Instead I spent it rotating around the various teams within Aperture; watching team member’s working and getting a real feel of the processes behind an IVA.

Starting Monday morning, 9 a.m., the only thing I knew about an IVA was what I had read up on for my interview. By noon I could name every process involved, simply because the people at Aperture cared, and took the time to explain, in a non-jargon way I could understand, what exactly an Individual Voluntary Agreement was.

Customer services (CS) was my first pit stop, where I spent most of the day listening to calls, seeing how the system operated and learning more and more about IVA’s. Customer services deals with queries, no matter how big or small, from clients in an IVA. I watched as the CS team reassured worried clients, took their time with confused clients and in general dealt with each call with the same amount of respect and courtesy as the last.


Tuesday – IVA Support

A new day, a new department.

On Tuesday I sat with the IVA Support Team (IVAST) and the Creditor’s Service Team. IVA ST are the ‘bad guys’, the ones who sit with pitchforks and horns, telling clients they are in arrears from which there is no return. In reality there were no horns, no pitchforks, just a team of dedicated individuals. The people working in this team understood how easy it is to fall into arrears, they understood life can throw a few unexpected hurdles, and in this case, expenses, your way. They didn’t judge, instead they talked to clients about the options available, and worked with the client so the option they picked was both affordable and comfortable for them.

Creditors Service was of a different nature, this team deal directly with creditors (hence the name) instead of clients. Talking with creditors, submitting claims, updating cases, are the main areas this team deals with. After an IVA is approved, creditors will send proof of a client’s debt, then this team process and submit the claims.


Wednesday – Variations

Wednesday is when I met the Variations and the Creditors Meeting team. The creditors meeting team is really the first critical point for a client since starting Aperture. It is the point at which their IVA proposal is accepted or rejected. An unnerving point for the client; I was impressed to see how well the team reassured clients before their meeting, explaining what exactly would happen during the meeting. I was surprised to learn that no one actually shows up for this ‘meeting’, instead it is a virtual meeting where creditors are contacted and asked to vote. If accepted, the client can begin their IVA journey and if a client’s IVA proposal is rejected, the creditors meeting team will not just forget about the case, they will do all they can, to renegotiate terms and conditions with the creditors to get an approval.

Fast forward to the afternoon, where I met the Variations team which is the department that clients will be referred to, when something has gone wrong. Redundancy, reduction in income, whatever the change in circumstance affecting a client’s IVA payments, this team’s goal is to help get the client back on track. Working with the client to find an affordable amount for them to pay, this team will adjust payments were necessary but will always offer help and advice to those who think they are struggling with payments.

Thursday – Annual Reports

Thursday is when I met the Annual Reporting/Income and Expenditure Reviews team. This department is responsible for creating the annual reports on each client’s case, which is then sent to the client, and their creditors. These annual reports act as annual updates to both parties on the case’s progression.


Friday- Closures Team

The last stop to visit, was closures. When clients receive a call from this department, it’s almost certainly good news- that their IVA has successfully been closed. This team is responsible for paying out any last dividends to creditors, and once this has been done and everything else is in line, the client will receive a congratulatory call and email. The team also answer any questions clients have about their financial future.

Almost a month gone and I, at the risk of sounding cliché, feel like I’ve been here for years. Never have I worked for a company who so boldly encompass the values and visions they founded their business on. I look forward to what the next few weeks bring, and to keeping you updating as I continue on my 12 month journey with Aperture.

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