Last week was National Apprenticeship Week 2022, the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships and is taking place this week across the UK, including in Northern Ireland.

Danske Futures is a three-year higher-level apprenticeship programme run in partnership with Danske Bank and Ulster University, and fully funded by the Department for the Economy. The programme offers students who have completed their A-Levels a chance to study for a degree while gaining real life work experience in their roles at the bank.

It also gives existing employees who want to reskill, retrain and equip themselves for the future world of work the opportunity to continue to work and build experience, whilst studying for a degree.

The apprentices have undertaken a BSc Hons degree in Leading on Customer Operations from Ulster University, whilst working in permanent roles across Danske’s Personal Banking and Operations teams.

The apprentices who started their journey in 2018, have submitted their research projects and are looking to the future in the working world, having gained invaluable experience in the bank – with eight members of the first group completing the programme later this year, and continuing their full time roles in Danske.

Adam Warden, one of the graduating apprentices said: “The Danske Futures programme has been an amazing way to gain real, hands-on work experience whilst studying for a fully-funded degree at the same time. The support throughout has been second to none, and my colleagues in the bank have taught me so much.

“The scheme gives us school leavers the opportunity to move straight into the working world, get paid and gain real-life experience. The mentorship and support we’ve received from the business right from the start has been incredible, and there’s so much more to banking than I ever thought – I’m so glad to have been able to see so much. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in investing in their career and education at the same time.”

Stacey Irvine-Herald, Senior HR Business Partner at Danske Bank, said: “Every year we are blown away by the standard of those who sign up for Danske Futures – we have five cohorts of colleagues currently on the programme in total, with our eight 2018 Futures graduating later this year.

“A key to the success of the programme is our partnership with the university, working collaboratively to mesh the academic learning with daily work, meaning the apprentices really feel that they are able to apply their learning and share their knowledge with their colleagues.”

Caroline Van Der Feltz, HR Director, added: “As a business, we want to make sure we have the right skills in place to help us meet evolving future banking needs, bring innovation and fresh ideas, and to tap into talent early so we can help shape apprentices into the future leaders we need – and our programmes are helping us do that.

“At Danske Bank, we have a clear purpose - to help customers, colleagues and society thrive. For us, investing in our apprenticeship programmes is invaluable and not only helps our colleagues develop, but means they bring new ideas and learnings which have a positive impact on our work with customers and society. To meet high demand, we have broadened our Futures programmes and now work with other academic providers to deliver three further apprenticeship schemes for our colleagues, focusing on IT, Financial Technology and Sustainability.”

National Apprenticeship Week, 7 – 11 Feb 2022, aims to raise the profile of apprenticeship programmes as a way for young people to develop their skills and behaviours in an ever-evolving job market and from a wider business perspective as a way of training quality and skilled staff.

Find out more about working at Danske Bank, and browse the latest job opportunities through their Careers webpage.