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60 Second Interview: Compliance instructor

"You don’t necessarily need to follow a set career path and most things you learn can be transferred to another job." That's the careers advice of compliance instructor Kate. Learn what her job entails - and how she got there. 

Name: Kate

Company:  Airline

Industry: Transport & Logistics

What is your job? Compliance instructor

How long have you worked here? 3 years

Education: IB Baccalaureate

Degree: Neuroscience degree at the University of Sussex

1. What was your very first job?

I was an English language teacher at a language school for adults in Luxembourg.

2. What did you want to do when you were at school?

I wasn’t too sure but I thought I might become a teacher or an artist.

3. How did you find out about the industry?

I was looking for another job (after my teaching role) and I applied to a few companies in Luxembourg, where I moved after university in Brighton. I never thought I would get a job at an airline let alone in a compliance department in an airline.

4. How did you get there?

To be very honest, I fell into my position. The department was looking for someone with experience in teaching and e-learning, and my profile and skills fit their needs very well.

At first I was apprehensive about the position because I didn’t want to work in a corporate environment but I kept an open mind and the more I learned about the role, the more I wanted the job. The head of the department said he found my CV interesting because I’d studied neuroscience.

I guess the lesson learned is that there is no set way to get yourself on a specific career path (unless you want to become a doctor! ;). If you keep following what it is that interests you, the skills and knowledge you pick up along the way will help you find the right career.

5. What is a typical day like?

I’m responsible for training and communication in the compliance department. Compliance is the part of a company that helps the business think about the legal risks they might face, for example bribery and corruption.

My department also offers guidance on how to do business in a legal, fair and ethical way. A lot of what we do is educating our staff on how to recognise and deal with these risks in order to keep themselves and the company safe.

A typical day might involve giving a two-hour induction workshop in the morning to new staff followed by a meeting in the afternoon with a business unit to start developing a new course about how to check invoices, for example.

I might spend the rest of the time developing a course using e-learning software. Since we have offices worldwide, I do sometimes need to travel to give training courses to our international staff.

6. What’s the best thing about your job?

The freedom to be creative. My day is not dictated to me, and the tools and methods I use are entirely up to me.

7. What is the most challenging thing about your job?

Making sure the compliance messages we deliver are well-received and considered in the staff’s everyday work.

8. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?

Standing up in front of a class of adults who’ve been working in the company longer than you’ve been alive and trying to ‘train’ them is extremely intimidating. I’ve always tried to focus on my qualities (my training expertise) in these situations – why am I standing up here and they are sitting there?

There’s also a little bit of ‘fake it till you make it’. The first few months of a new job will always be bewildering and intimidating but if you keep an open mind and keep learning, you can overcome this feeling.

9. What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?

You don’t necessarily need to follow a set career path and most things you learn can be transferred to another job. It’s also never too late to change careers.

10. Where would you like to be in five years?

I think I might like to become a school teacher.

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