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New opportunities for young North East talent in apprenticeship programme investment

Date published: 4 February 2021

Read time: 4 minutes

Apprentice, Rob Carter

The North East’s biggest building society is offering vital career opportunities for young people across the region by continuing to invest in its annual apprenticeship programme.

Despite the pandemic and the fact that most colleagues are now working remotely, Newcastle Building Society is looking to take on five apprentices this year, and is running two virtual open days during the forthcoming National Apprenticeship Week for would-be new recruits to find out more.

The new starters will undertake a training and development programme for around two years that will see them earn a nationally recognised workplace qualification.

Recognising the value and contribution of its apprentices to the business, the Society offers more than double the minimum pay level set by the Government to its new recruits.

The Society launched its first apprenticeship programme in 2017, and since then 35 young people from across the region have gone on to secure permanent positions with the organisation after completing their training.

And as part of its ongoing investment in its home region, it has now reaffirmed a commitment to provide career development opportunities for local young people when they’re needed more than ever. 

To showcase the opportunities available this year, the Society is hosting virtual open evenings on Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 February at which some of its current apprentices will be speaking about their experiences so far.

Each Society apprentice is supported through tailored development activities provided by specialist training providers, its Learning and Development team and colleagues from across the wider business which tie in with individuals’ roles and personal aspirations.

Newcastle Building Society is one of just a handful of North East organisations to have achieved the prestigious ‘Platinum’ Investors in People (IIP) standard, and also runs bespoke programmes for both undergraduate and graduate recruits alongside its apprenticeship scheme.

Hayley Smith joined Newcastle Building Society as a Mortgage Adviser apprentice in November last year and is working in the Adviser team whilst studying for an industry qualification. Now 26, this is her second apprenticeship after she joined Hays Travel as an apprentice when she left school.
Hayley, who is from Sunderland, says: “The idea of starting a new job whilst working from home was a little daunting, but everyone at the Society has been so supportive and even though we’ve not met in person I’ve got to know how the business works really well during my apprenticeship. 

“Apprenticeships are a brilliant option for people of all ages. It’s all about taking the opportunity to do something you’re passionate about. For me, joining the Society has been a huge step forward in my career.”

Kirsten Lightfoot, Head of People Development at Newcastle Building Society, adds: “Making strategic investments in North East skills and talent at all levels is absolutely vital to our continuing success and we have already seen apprentices making a big impact on how we work as they begin to develop their careers.

“We know this is a particularly challenging time for young people looking to get onto the career ladder, and have prioritised making sure that the excellent development opportunities our apprenticeship programme offers are sustained. 

“Our apprenticeships cover a wide range of business functions, from marketing and IT services through to finance and branch-based roles, and they all offer the chance for recruits to get involved with ‘live’ projects almost straight away with the full support of expert colleagues and training providers.  

“The enhanced rate of pay that we offer also recognises the contribution our apprentice recruits make to the business.

“We’ve been able to recruit a number of very talented young apprentices over the last four years and the information we’ll be sharing at our open evenings will hopefully encourage the next generation to examine everything we can offer them.”