A day in the life: Kevin White on tackling financial crime at Barclays
Barclays' Connect with Work programme and an apprenticeship programme at the company's Whippany campus in New Jersey took Kevin White from cruise ship DJ to a role tackling financial crime at the bank. The Internal Compliance Technology Apprentice tells us how the transition helped him “grow as a person” – and why he loves going to work every day.
My alarm goes off… at 5.20am. I get dressed and say good morning to my mother before jogging to Jamaica Station in New York. From there, I take two trains and then run to catch the 6.45am shuttle to the Barclays Whippany office. I have to time it perfectly to get to work for my 7.30am start.
My job involves… monitoring financial crime as part of Barclays’ Internal Compliance Technology team. Our team oversees the bank’s regulated activities and we’re responsible for setting out regulatory policies and notifying senior management about any issues or changes.
On a typical day, I check that our programmes for monitoring crime are running properly. These programmes help us protect the bank from any information or security vulnerabilities and ensure we keep our clients safe and happy. That involves carrying out investigations and knowing what to do if the programme fails. After that, I watch training videos to enhance my technical skills and have a one-to-one with my line manager to monitor my progress. My breaks at Barclays are amazing. I hang out with other apprentices at our office arcade where we can play video games, foosball and shoot hoops at the basketball court.
Before I joined Barclays… I was a DJ for five years working for Disney, Princess Cruises and the Long Island Nets basketball team. I never thought about anything other than DJing until I fell in love with a girl and wanted a job that was more financially stable so that we could start a family. While surfing online for jobs at 3am one night, I came across Per Scholas – a non-profit Barclays Connect with Work partner that teaches technical skills to people living in urban areas. I signed up to the Connect with Work cybersecurity training course, developed by Barclays' colleagues the next day.
The cybersecurity course was… excellent. It offers so much to help you succeed in the IT world. During the 16-week course, not only did I learn how to protect a network, I understood how a network operates. After graduating, I received a call from Tony Gaston, Site Director of Per Scholas Newark. He told me he’d signed me up for an interview at Barclays and I ended up landing the job. Transitioning from the carefree lifestyle of a cruise ship DJ to working in Barclays’ Internal Compliance Technology team where everything has got to be correct, made me grow as a person. It gave me structure, which I didn’t have before.
My best day at work was… the day I did a seven-hour charity DJ marathon for the WildHearts Micro-Tyco business challenge. We were challenged to flip US $1 into more money – and all the funds went towards helping people in poor countries start their own businesses. As a DJ, I knew for a fact I could sell myself and collect donations in exchange for playing song requests. So I started networking with other departments in Barclays and they approved the marathon, created flyers and helped launch it. Everyone wanted to take part and see the event be successful. Our team raised US $300 in total.
While surfing online for jobs at 3am one night, I came across Per Scholas – a Barclays-partnered non-profit that teaches technical skills to people living in urban areas. I signed up the next day
Beyond my day job… I’m part of the Black Professionals Forum, a Barclays network for black colleagues where we pretty much build each other up. They tempted me with pizza when I first joined the bank and I ended up going to a meeting and never left. Within the forum, we have a mentoring programme where mentees are given guidance on the ways of the corporate world. My mentor Jared is amazing and has the experience to help me move forward in the bank.
I also volunteer with Barclays’ Digital Eagles. We go to different schools and teach children how to code. It’s important for organisations to have initiatives like these because you get to see people’s true colours. When you’re willing to work beyond your day job and help other people, that shows character. It makes you look at your team in a whole different light.
The most difficult part of my job is… that I don’t come from a technical background. As an apprentice, I have to learn a lot to catch up with the rest of my team – but I honestly couldn’t ask for a better team or line manager. They want me to do better and they always have my back.
The thing I love most about my job is… the culture that Barclays has created. I’ve never felt like I was alone or that I couldn’t keep up. I love coming into work every single day because my colleagues want me to succeed.
After work… I play a lot of video games, hang out with my family and plan my next adventure. As a DJ, I’ve travelled to 87 countries. My top three favourites so far have been Japan, New Zealand and Mexico. I’m thinking Madagascar or Antarctica will be my next stop.