National Apprenticeship Week is upon us. This year, the theme is “building the future”. Darlington Building Society has 165 years’ experience in building the future for its staff, members and the local community. Apprenticeships play an integral part, below we share some of the ‘hows’.

Building the future…for our employees

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 marks the one-year anniversary for eight apprentices who joined the Society’s branch network. It has been wonderful to watch these individuals grow in confidence and in skill.

Chloe Baldwin was one of this group, and said: “I honestly don’t think I would have had the opportunities I’ve been given without the apprenticeship. It’s helped me to develop in so many ways professionally.” You can follow Chloe’s journey in tomorrow’s blog, as part of our National Apprenticeship Week which will be continued to be posted in our Media Hub.

To build a solid future we must support employee wellbeing, starting with recognition. Therefore, Darlington Building Society pays the National Living Wage as a minimum – including all our under-18 apprentices.

We recently reviewed our branch opening hours, underlining our commitment to supporting staff wellbeing. The new hours better reflect member visiting patterns and provide a great work-life balance for staff through improved shift rotations. We also created nine new roles to support branch staff during busy periods.

Darlington Branch Manager, Jonathan Snee, completed a Leadership and Management apprenticeship, which enabled him to: “Doing the ILM qualification, as an apprentice, gave me the theory and skill-set to know what is expected in a management position, and gave me the confidence to apply for promotions” You can learn more about Jonathan’s progression in Wednesday’s blog.

Career progression is common at Darlington because we support our staff throughout their journey. Numerous part-time and junior branch staff have developed into senior leadership roles. Apprenticeships are crucial to growing our own talent as they allow individuals to fit studying in with their day jobs.

Building the future… for our members

Recently, we were one of the first people to sign up to the Government’s Help to Build scheme – helping people physically build their futures (and future homes).
Sourcing right-fit mortgages for members who build these innovative homes is Head of Intermediary Distribution, Chris Blewitt, and his team. They are experts at making complex cases simple. Chris completed a Leadership & Management apprenticeship which honed his skills in leading a thriving team. You can catch up with Chris in Thursday’s blog.

Building the future…for our local communities

Our local communities are the heart of Darlington Building Society. We reinvest 5% of our profits into the local community and share funds, time and space with fifty ‘Local 5’ charities.
Darlington Building Society is all about a holistic approach that helps staff, members and the local community to thrive.

And this holistic approach extends to how we grow our own talent – support needs to be instilled throughout the organisation.

Louise Thorpe, Distribution Director, started at Darlington Building Society as part-time maternity cover. Today she sits on the senior leadership team. And, thanks to an apprenticeship she is able to balance her demanding role with studying for a Masters degree. Louise’s incredible story will be shared on Friday as part of our National Apprenticeship Week series.
Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers, they don’t apply exclusively to one part of an organisation. Apprenticeships are fundamental to growing our own talent, and colleagues from a wide range of disciplines benefit from them massively.

Follow Darlington Building Society’s National Apprenticeship Week blog series within our Media Hub on our website.