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BEST EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (SME)

WINNER: OPTIONS TECHNOLOGY

Colleen Murray and Mandy McQuillan from Options Technology are presented with the ‘Best Employee Development Programme – SME’ Award by Professor Gillian Armstrong, Professor of Business Education at event partner Ulster University Business School

Fintech cloud operator Options provides powerful career paths for its team

CURRENTLY the leading provider of IT infrastructure to global capital markets firms, Options Technology began in 1993 as a hedge fund services provider, and today employs 450 people providing managed services to over 550 firms.

The company has set out on a mission not only to be the number one public cloud operator in the financial sector, but to provide powerful career paths for its team through opportunities and support in upskilling, training, and development.

Options believes development is essential within the company, and travel is an invaluable key player in this, allowing individuals to network and work with teams and clients on a global basis.

With offices and clients located on a global scale, it makes sense for Options staff to use this opportunity to travel and see the world, developing on both a professional and personal level.

Options also offers employees the opportunity to relocate to many of its global locations, with many choosing to stay for either a few years or some making a permanent move.

“We place a great emphasis in giving young and recent graduates opportunities to develop professionally, meet new people, build lifelong friendships, see the world, and fine-tune their skills through an array of development programmes,” the company says in its awards submission.

“We have built a model that allows individuals to excel in the fintech profession regardless of their educational path and hire individuals with a keen interest to learn and develop.
“We offer a foundational base across all our product lines before they select which area they’d like to specialise in. We offer employees the opportunity to get certified in a range of different professional schemes both on the technology and the business functions at Options.”

It genuinely lives up to its mission not only to be the number one public cloud operator in the financial sector, but to provide powerful career paths for its team through opportunities and support in upskilling, training and development

“We offer a foundational base across all our product lines before they select which area they’d like to specialise in. We offer employees the opportunity to get certified in a range of different professional schemes both on the technology and the business functions at Options.”

Options has built a strong reputation among graduate and placement students in Belfast and beyond, and hires both experienced industry veterans and driven young professionals, as well as those from non-technical backgrounds, who undertake a robust training programme.

The company initiates a one-to-one buddy system that dedicates an experienced member of staff to a new team member, to assist, teach and support the individual on their journey in the new role.

Every graduate and placement that joins Options will have the chance to travel to London, New York, Toronto, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Austin or Minneapolis as part of the training
programme, and 100 per cent of support placements have continued to work with the company during their final year of university and return to full time roles after graduating.

Last year Options produced its ‘Road to Gold’ Microsoft Certification Programme which provides staff with a structure to tackle what is now a densely populated knowledge base. It selected 11 relevant cloud computing competency areas where we felt it was important to become a Gold Partner, and it incentivised staff to study and complete the certifications necessary to obtain partner status.

Depending on the level of certification gained, employees received a pay bump of £2,500 or £5,000, and to date more than £160,000 has been allocated as bonuses.