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Royal recognition for apprentice for ‘services to education’

Date published: 11 June 2024

Read time: 2 minutes

A colleague attending a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Jess Duff attended a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, after she was nominated to attend by the Department of Education for her services to education.

As well as currently completing her L6 degree apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions with us, Jess is also the Chair of the North East Ambassador Network. As part of her duties, she helps to inspire the next generation of talent and businesses to take up apprenticeships, by promoting the value of apprenticeships and sharing best practice.

Since joining the Network in 2022, Jess has quickly become an influential member, leveraging her role as Cyber Security Coordinator at the Society to show other young people the career opportunities available to them through apprenticeships.

Now her passion for education has gained attention nationally, with the Department for Education nominating her for special recognition.

A Newcastle Building Society colleague stood on stage holding a microphone.

Jess Duff, Chair of the North East Ambassador Network

“Being a part of The North East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network is really important to me. Not only do I get support from other apprentices doing similar qualifications to myself, but I get to raise the profile of and champion apprenticeships and the opportunities they provide to young people."

“It’s particularly rewarding to me when I get to speak to other young people, who may not have otherwise considered an apprenticeship as an option, about the range of career paths and opportunities an apprenticeship offers.

“It’s such a huge honour to be recognised with a nomination by the Department of Education for my role in helping to champion and educate people and businesses about the vital role apprenticeships play in the workforce."

Through our volunteering-friendly policies, which includes two-days of paid volunteering leave each year, Jess has donated over 100 hours of her time to her role as Chair in the past year, delivering presentations to school pupils and attending government meetings to help influence policy at a national level.

Gemma Manson, Early Talent Manager at Newcastle Building Society, said: “Being recognised for her services to education by the Department for Education is a fantastic achievement for Jess, and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of her professional development during her time with the Society so far.

“Our early talent programme launched back in 2017 as part of our ongoing commitment to investing in our region, and since then we have been able to offer over 60 young people from across the North East permanent employment with the Society after completing their qualifications.”

Download the press release (PDF, 151kB)

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