Nationwide Building Society kicks off search for tech apprentices

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Nationwide is working with local organisations to boost tech skills

Karl Flinders

By

Published: 11 Feb 2021 10:45

Nationwide Building Society has opened the application process for an apprenticeship programme that aims to educate 1,000 people in five years.

Working alongside the Swindon Institute of Technology, Nationwide is seeking apprentices in tech areas including cyber security, software development and DevOps.

Beginning in September, the programme will be based at a campus in Nationwide’s hometown, Swindon, where face-to-face and remote learning will be provided.

Patrick Eltridge, Nationwide’s chief operating officer, said the scheme is the result of cooperation between local businesses, government and education institutions, and “reimagines STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] education in this country”. “It was why Nationwide, alongside other local organisations, worked so hard to bring the Institute of Technology to Swindon in the first place,” he said.

Nationwide already works with tech careers organisations such as Code Club, Tech She Can and the National Centre for Computing Education to increase the availability of STEM education.

The building society will contribute to the shaping and delivery of the curriculum and will provide additional support through hackathons, visits from specialist speakers and coaching.  

Eltridge added that this is part of the building society’s contribution to help closing the UK STEM skills gap. “This is a significant investment for Nationwide, and we’re confident that it will be a positive move towards helping close the digital skills gap and provide more employment opportunities for people who perhaps have never had the opportunity to consider a career in technology before,” he said. 

Nationwide said employer-led education will encourage more people who “otherwise may not have done so” to improve their digital skillset and consider a career in technology.

Financial services organisations have an important role in training the next generation of tech professionals. Banks and building societies have large IT operations harnessing the latest technologies.

At the same time, they are going through huge transformations to keep pace with changing demands of customers. The technology expertise required is changing as a result and apprentice schemes help businesses like banks teach skills about the application of technology in the finance sector.

Nationwide is an example of a financial services business that has transformed through tech. It has been on a long tech investment journey for over a decade. When most financial services firms were slashing spending, due to the global financial crash of 2008, Nationwide was investing heavily in IT. At that time, it embarked on a £1bn project to transform its technology, which followed years of underinvestment.

It initially involved upgrading its datacentre, outsourcing IT for the first time, and implementing Microsoft technology in the front office and SAP at the back.

This created the foundations for the company to adopt the latest technology when it emerges. Today, it’s using fintech and is using the latest technologies to transform the business.

To keep pace with the fintech revolution, access to the right skills is key, but competition for people is high because this is also true for other financial services firms – both traditional as well as a new wave of digitally native competitors.

Find out more and apply for one of the apprenticeship schemes on offer here.

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