The saying is true, time does go fast when you're having fun, and with so many of our employees recently reaching significant anniversary milestones at LIFT, we hope they will agree. When the company was launched, we had 8 employees; we now have over 90 working in our offices. This has been a big year for LIFT; we have been able to recruit many new starters and also celebrated a lot of anniversaries with our longer serving team members.
This makes us very proud, especially after the challenges we have faced during the lockdown. Our team has shown resilience, dedication and never stopped working hard for each of our clients. The team members who have been here from the start have seen many changes across the business, from being told to work from home, wearing masks around the office, and conducting all client meetings virtually! If there is anything this last year has shown us, it is how fantastic our team is at adapting and prospering even under the hardest circumstances.
We have expanded our team throughout this year and had new starters of all ages taking on new opportunities and becoming part of the LIFT family. They have embraced different ways of working such as their training being carried out from their homes, and until recently, many of them had not actually met the majority of their teammates in person. This again shows how fantastic our team have been, not only the new starters but also our long-serving members, who have made each new member feel welcome and taught them a lot of what they need for them to be able to fulfil their new roles.
At LIFT we understand the importance of nurturing new young talent. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the LIFT-Academy. Our Academy was set up to help school leavers and graduates on the path to becoming Chartered Financial Planners. LIFT's experience paired with our colleagues' hard work and dedication means they regularly pass their exams and gain valuable work experience at the same time.
Edward Backhouse has been one of our Academy members for over 4 years; we asked him to share his experience with us, "as a young graduate with a First in Economics from Loughborough University, I was looking for a structured and progressive graduate scheme in finance. The LIFT training programme appealed to me as it offered the chance to study for professional exams and become a Chartered Financial Planner within an innovative and vibrant organisation. LIFT offers exceptional service to its clients, and I would recommend all aspiring graduates to consider applying". Edward is a real success story of the Academy and has now achieved the status of Chartered and Fellowship, and as a continuation of his progression with LIFT-Financial, has begun taking on his own clients.
Another dedicated member of our team is Daniel Barrett, Chartered Financial Planner. He was a member of the Academy from the early days and has just celebrated his 9th anniversary at LIFT. Dan says, "having spent 9 years with LIFT straight out of university and joining a company of around 30, it was great to be part of a fast-growing, ambitious company and working hard to reach our goals both personally and corporately. There have been many changes as the whole team grows, which has presented great opportunities to progress within the business. I always joke that there is no job in the company I haven't done from being postman, making visitors coffee and helping clients achieve their financial goals. I look forward to helping and guiding the current postmen and baristas to achieve their personal goals of developing within the business and continue to grow LIFT as a business over the next 9 years".
As a company, we are very focused on our values, 'learning, innovation, focus and teamwork'. On a quarterly basis, we choose Value Champions and award them for their efforts. A big part of our strategy is recognising excellence and celebrating this as a team.
We are excited to see what 2022 brings as we continue to grow and develop; reaching the 100-employee mark. We would not be where we are today without the team behind LIFT, the long-service employees who have helped us grow the brand and the new starters who allow us to continue to grow and prosper year on year.