Who are these people who consciously choose to work in the pension sector? What do they do there all day for your pension? And what do they like about their work? We will take you for a look behind the scenes. Bram Scipio (42) is service owner. “At APG, a whole world opened up for me.”
Service owner, that sounds important. What exactly does your job entail?
“I have substantive responsibility for about 35 people at the IT Service Center. We monitor the IT landscape, as we call it, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. When there is a glitch somewhere, we try to fix it as quickly as possible. We are also the department that makes sure all employees get a new phone and laptop every once in a while. And when, during Covid, suddenly everyone had to work from home, we were the ones who made that possible for 3,500 people. That was a really great project, where, as a service, we were really seen.”
How did you end up at APG?
“Well, I made quite a career switch. Before getting into IT, I was a hospitality entrepreneur. I quit that at some point; I wanted to do something else. I had already done an intermediate vocational course in system and network management, and some time later I started studying ICT & Information Management at college. After graduating, I started working in e-commerce. There I mainly dealt with challenging customer ICT issues. I learned a lot there, but after a few years I was ready for a real IT organization. I noticed that solving complex issues gave me energy. That’s how I ended up at APG seven years ago.”
Um, but APG is a pension organization, not an IT company, right?
“Many people don’t realize it, but APG is not only a pension organization but also a very large IT company. Everything you can think of in terms of IT, we have in-house. We actually do pretty much what big companies like Microsoft do, but in Heerlen. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know that before I joined here either; a whole world opened up to me.”
Isn't that world secretly a bit boring?
“It is anything but! There are so many internal and external developments affecting our work. For example, the new pension system, where we ensure a healthy financial perspective for a large part of the Dutch population. But there are also threats in the form of cybercrime. As you can imagine, this affects our IT landscape. We need to keep that agile, stable and secure, and user experiences must remain positive. We not only build reliable and solid services, but also embrace new technologies so that we can be a guide in IT service delivery. And if something does go wrong, we pull out all the stops to fix and restore it. All this ensures that we are challenged in our work on a daily basis. So, no, I’m never bored.”
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The thing I like most is that I get to facilitate my colleagues to bring out the best in themselves. I make sure they can do their work in the best possible way and guide them to enhance their job satisfaction. There’s a lot of personal development in that, of course. If I can help colleagues achieve their ambitions, then I have already achieved a large part of what I stand for.”
What motivates you?
“My personal motto is: ‘Enjoy and have fun by seeking challenge, by investing and by yourself developing every day’. I am a go-getter and love challenges. As I mentioned, I coach my colleagues and teams to perform at their best and achieve goals. In my ideal world, I do this by creating a working environment where fun, safety, trust and ambition are paramount.”
What character traits make you really fit in here?
“My coworkers say I am very client- and service-oriented, a connector, good at planning and organizing, and ambitious, as well as boundary-pushing and solution-oriented.”
Do those traits come in handy in your personal life too? What do you do when you are not at work?
“In my spare time, I am a recreational runner, I love to exercise outdoors. I live near the Brunssummerheide and the Tevenerheide and these surroundings are great for really switching out of work mode. I regularly sign up for running events, where not only the sporting achievement matters, but also the sociability.”
What do pension participants notice about your work?
“My team and I ensure that our APG colleagues have modern ICT workstations and services at their disposal, so that they can work and collaborate optimally, carefree and with pleasure. In our department, we are also the voice of the client and I have a lot of contact with stakeholders: what can we do better? Again, that fits in with my background: the client or guest is always king and their wishes come first. The trick is to translate what they want into working solutions. So, we not only make sure that everything works, but are also constantly improving. With our excellently organized services, our APG colleagues can then focus fully on their work for funds, employers and participants.”