DARLINGTON Building Society has again demonstrated its commitment to the community by giving four local people invaluable work experience on a paid summer placement scheme.

Sarah Walker, Emily Shaw, Abbie Fawcett, and Annie Grief have joined the award-winning society in support roles for the summer.

Sarah, who is working as a savings and online administrator, has had a varied working life, including qualifying as a chef, serving in The Army with the Royal Logistics Corps, and then spending 12 years in banking.

A single mum of 15-year-old twins, she has been out of work for the past couple of years due to ill health, but is now recovered and is grateful for the summer placement with Darlington Building Society as a route back to employment.

“I really appreciate this opportunity because it’s a way for me to make sure I can manage in a working environment again, and everyone has been so supportive,” said Sarah, who was born and raised in Middlesbrough.

Darlington-born Emily, who is working as a customer support administrator, graduated last year in film studies from Liverpool John Moores University, and is using her summer placement with the Society to gain experience in administration.

“My ambition is to work in production in the film industry, and I may do my Masters, so this is a great way of building experience in an office environment in the meantime,” said Emily.

Abbie, from Eaglescliffe, has just completed the first year of her A-levels at Egglescliffe Sixth Form College, where she is studying English Language, Philosophy, and German.

“I chose my subjects because I wanted to keep all doors open. Up to now, all I’ve really known is education so, having this summer placement with Darlington Building Society gives me a real insight into working life.”

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough-born Annie is enjoying being kept busy as a mortgage process administrator, after completing a degree in Business Management at Leeds Beckett University.

“Everyone is so helpful, and I really feel I’m gaining a valuable understanding of a working environment in a successful, well-respected company,” said Annie.

Sarah, Emily and Annie are on 12-week placements, while Abbie is with Darlington Building Society for a month before she returns to her studies at college.

The current pandemic has presented many challenges to many organisations but the Society have used this to create opportunities both internally and externally with a variety of secondments, placements and permanent roles.

Darlington Building Society Director of People & Culture, Niki Barker, said: “In such challenging times, we have been delighted to be able to offer employment opportunities in our local area. Gaining experience within an organisation is so valuable to anyone who is either looking to join or re-enter the working environment. We are committed to supporting these placements year after year and see the great value it brings to both the candidate and the Society”