Skills for life

With 28 promotions and 14 internal role changes recognising additional responsibilities since July 2017, at Darlington Building Society we place a high emphasis on developing the skills of our people. This is reflected in the fact that we have recently been named in the Best Companies Top 30 Places to Work in the North East and won a Training Journal Award at the end of 2018 in recognition of our Growing Our Own programme, all designed to developing the skills of our people.

Our team are constantly learning new skills to better serve our members, whether that be in leadership, management or customer service. From the very first day they join us, staff will start developing their knowledge and transferable skills.

Our approach to acquiring skills is all based on choice – our staff can choose the direction they want to go in, and we will give them the resources and support they need to do this. Additionally, one thing we are keen to foster among our team is a passion for knowledge and a commitment to be responsible for their own learning.

Learning and Development Manager Andy Kane explains: “The Society is an advocate of self-learning principles, in that it recognises and celebrates the benefit and value added to the business by individuals taking ownership for their development.”

Further to this, our senior leadership team are always on hand to support staff, holding regular one-to-one sessions ready to share experiences – we’re proud of the level of expertise we have available across all departments.

Individuals are members of several professional bodies, including the Institute of Risk Management, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the CIPD, the Institute of Financial Services and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Paying membership fees and investing the time in our people to actively participate in the groups allows us to capture and share industry and local practices and continuously develop our professional competence.

Niki Barker, our Director of People and Culture, says: “Having started as HR Manager at the Society in 2015, it was fantastic to see the support from the business in investing in our staff.

“We have developed this even further over the years and have many great success stories where our people have gained career-building skills from both internal and external training courses.

“On a personal note, the business allowing me to attend conferences and seminars ran by the likes of the BSA and the CIPD has assisted my own development and broadened my knowledge of the current environment we work within.”

We’re proud that many of staff are promoted internally, and progression like this demonstrates the will of our people to develop their career with us - and the commitment of the society to future-proofing the organisation by investing in our existing talent.

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