Unity Trust Bank, a specialist bank for the social economy, has stood true to its values and supported job creation by taking on two more apprentices to its already successful scheme.
According to the Office for National Statistics, unemployment amongst 16-24 year olds in the UK is currently at 21%, approximately 7% lower than the EU average. As part of the bank’s drive to support wider economic development, it created an apprenticeship scheme in 2012. The scheme aims to address youth unemployment and the significant skills gap amongst young people in the UK, by providing training with a view to long term development opportunities for those at the start of their career.
Two new apprentices, Ben Jordan and Ayannah Manning, have joined the bank for a 12 month apprenticeship in Banking Operations. The apprentices will also spend part of their time working in various roles across the business.
Ben Jordan said of his new apprenticeship: “I’m really happy with how my apprenticeship at Unity is going so far. Working across multiple departments has helped me develop a range of new and varied skills, which I know will be valuable to me as my career progresses. The staff at Unity have been great and nothing but encouraging from the start.”
Richard Rose, Head of Banking Operations at Unity Trust Bank, said of the two apprentices: “We are delighted to welcome Ben and Ayannah to our team and are confident that the wide range of experience they will gain at Unity will stand them in excellent stead for the future. Our apprentice scheme is a worthwhile and valuable experience not only for our apprentices but for Unity Trust Bank and our current staff. They see first hand the value and positive results of providing opportunities to young people and it’s great that we can lead by example.”
As a result of two successful years of its apprenticeship scheme, Unity Trust Bank was able to offer its first ever apprentices permanent and fixed term contracts following completion of their apprenticeships in 2013. Originally a receptionist apprentice, Taylor Cassidy now works full time in Banking Operations, and Robert Dodds is now working in a fixed term role in Technology following his apprenticeship working across Unity departments.
Robert Dodds said of his role as an apprentice: “The varied and demanding nature of my apprenticeship at Unity helped increase my confidence and gave me skills across the marketing, customer services, reception, HR, and technology departments. It felt amazing to be offered a fixed term role at the end of my apprenticeship. I know the skills I gained will stay with me and have definitely helped me excel on the testing team in the Technology department where I currently work. It is great to know that Unity believe in me and are willing to invest in my career development.”
Taylor Cassidy said of her new role: “Having started my apprenticeship at Unity with quite a few nerves and without much experience, working on reception hugely improved my confidence. Then I was offered a temporary contract in Banking Operations following my apprenticeship. When a permanent position opened up in early 2013 I was thrilled and wasted no time applying.”
Head of Human Resources at Unity Trust Bank Kay Gossage, said of the apprentice programme: “We are a social values bank and it is only right that Unity does its bit to help young people into employment. Regardless of whether their future takes them to a career at Unity or not, we know that we have given them valuable and transferrable work-life experience, as well as invaluable skills imperative to graduates and young job seekers in the UK. At the same time, we believe in investing in our staff’s potential from the very beginning and we aim to offer our apprentices full time roles where possible.”
As a socially minded business, Unity Trust Bank provides sustainable banking and finance support to social economy customers, delivering social impact in their local communities. Alongside this it runs internal programmes to support its own social impact outcomes. Unity Trust Bank’s apprenticeship scheme is part of wider employee commitments. Recently accredited as a Living Wage employer, Unity Trust Bank was the first bank to commit to pay a Living Wage or above to all employees. It pays 64% over the national apprentice wage of £93.80 per week for its apprentices and runs an Employee Share Ownership Plan, which enables staff to own a stake in the organisation. It also offers staff five days of volunteering a year.