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Building a career pathway one brick at a time

"Not everyone always knows what they want to be when they grow up. Sometimes it takes specialist programs and sound advice to make the right move."

Pic: Bradley Saggers Source: Supplied

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Growing up in the small town of Devonport in Tasmania, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up but I was always good with numbers.


In school, I followed that passion but questioned where it could take me. What career path could I take? In which city? With which companies?


I asked myself these questions but never seemed to find an answer.


As I finished year 10, my teachers advised if I wanted to continue with learning and pursue a corporate career I would have to go to college and eventually university.


I worked with my school’s pathway planner and decided to pursue my passion for maths and numbers. He suggested I apply for an Indigenous school-based traineeship. So at the age of 16, I began a traineeship at my local ANZ branch. I worked as a bank teller for two to three days a week while completing my final years of school.


The two years went by so fast but they were the most valuable years of my life. The lessons I learned and the people I learned from were so special and it was an absolute privilege to have that experience at that age. 


Simple lessons like how to talk to and help a customer, follow up an A-Z review or work with my branch manager to set targets, plan out my day and hit those targets taught me how to take responsibility for different tasks and are just some of the many lessons I learnt on the traineeship.


But I also experienced mistakes along the way and they allowed me to learn from them, grow and improve each day.


Pivotal point

I continued to work for ANZ as a full-time trainee for a year after I completed high school but I was still unsure where to go or what I wanted to do with my career.


Looking back now, it was actually a pivotal point in my life.


I was learning the different responsibilities of being a business banker and slowly taking on more responsibilities. Talking to business customers and hearing about how they were going inspired me to learn more about this side of banking. My interest and drive to learn more about business banking in Devonport grew.


Whenever I was on my lunch break, I’d sit in the business bankers’ offices and ask them questions. 


At the end of that year, I was nominated by our branch for the Indigenous Trainee of the Year award.


To be nominated was a huge accomplishment and acknowledgement of my hard work and I ended up winning the award which came as a real shock.


Bradley Saggers receiving the Aboriginal Trainee of the year award from Work & Training Ltd.


Making the move


After being spurred on by this achievement, I made the decision to move to Hobart for university. I moved by myself, with no family or friends there so it was really tough. But I knew if I wanted to further my career I needed a degree.


However, at this point in my life I was struggling in more ways than one.


Like many other young students, I survived off noodles and cheap snacks. I owe my parents a lot for supporting me through it all. I didn’t think I would make it through but I believed in myself. University was draining and tiring but a really rewarding experience.


In the last semester of my degree, I applied for an internship in business finance to try and gain a competitive edge on my résumé. The final six months of university were a real eye-opener. I had learnt a lot and put this knowledge into practice working as an intern for a renewable energy company. I finally knew what I wanted to do and that I could do it.


After graduating, I always wanted to end up back at ANZ – it was a huge part of the reason I took this pathway. I applied for a job as a personal banker at head office in Melbourne, wanting to pursue my career in the ‘big city’.


However, after reaching the video interview stage of the process I was unfortunately unsuccessful.


I knew I just wasn’t myself in the interview and I’d let myself down. But I received feedback about how I could improve and advice about what to do differently next time. 


Designed for learning


Despite this setback, I still believed everything happened for a reason. I applied for a job I knew I was under-qualified for and received a response from an ANZ recruiter mentioning the ANZ Graduate Program.


The recruiter put me in contact with another successful graduate, Jordan, who explained what she was learning in the program. I knew this was the right fit for me so I applied and eventually accepted a role as a graduate in the Australia Retail & Commercial banking division– the bank’s largest business serving approximately six million retail and commercial customers.


Early talent programs


At ANZ, we are committed to giving our people every opportunity to learn and grow by creating a thriving and inclusive workplace.


We are accelerating our global early talent programs to help us attract, retain and grow our pipeline of diverse, adaptive and untapped talent.


These programs include Return to Work, Spectrum, Graduates, Internships, TAFE trainees and more.



My experience is testament to the value of the various programs offered by ANZ which are designed to help you learn. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to do or where you want to go, I’ve learned to just keep working hard.


I recently started my role as a graduate with ANZ and although I am still new, I have learned so much in a small amount of time. This comes down to the support of everyone involved in the program, especially the team I was placed in for my first rotation.


From day one I have been encouraged by the confidence and support they have shown me.


I am going to learn, mature and grow my banking knowledge exponentially. I’ve had opportunities to attend leadership meetings, work for the innovation hub and participate in one-on-one conversations with leaders. To have all of this exposure in a short period shows there are no limits in the program.


I can’t wait to see what I achieve by the end of the program and am looking forward to figuring out my next step.


Bradley Saggers is Australia Retail & Commercial Banking Graduate at ANZ.


This article was originally published on Bradley’s LinkedIn profile.


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