First launched in 2018, Danske Futures is a fully funded, three-year higher-level apprenticeship programme for students who have completed their A- Levels.

Run in partnership with Ulster University, the programme offers school leavers the opportunity to take up a permanent role with Danske Bank in locations across NI, while studying for a degree.

From that first intake, eight apprentices have now finished their studies and graduated from the programme, with all now in permanent roles across the bank in various business units.

Danske Bank intends to hire 20 apprentices in this latest intake, all of whom will study to obtain a BSc Hons degree in Leading on Customer Operations while gaining experience of working in Danske’s Personal Banking and Operations teams.

Graduates from Danske Futures benefit from a range of development opportunities, support from colleagues and progression through a clear career path.

The deadline for applications for this year’s intake is 29 July, and details of how to apply can be found on the Bank's Careers website.

Clark Barnes, who joined the Danske Futures programme in 2018 and is now a Senior Project Analyst in the bank’s Commercial Development unit said:

“When I applied to the Danske Futures Apprenticeship programme, I had just finished school and I was at a bit of a loss at what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to continue my studies, but I was also really keen to start working. After some research on apprenticeships, I thought they might be the way for me, and when I found the Danske Futures programme, it sounded like exactly the kind of programme I was looking for.

“It’s hard to believe that I’ve finished the programme now. I feel like a different person from the one that applied all those years ago. My knowledge, skills and confidence have all grown massively, and I firmly believe the combination of university studying, learning while I worked and bringing my studies to my role have all helped me grow massively. The support I had from my team in Danske was invaluable, and I firmly believe that I’ve learnt and experienced things I never would have been able to if I’d exclusively studied at university.

“For anyone interested, or thinking about their next move after school or a career change, I’d highly, highly recommend the Danske Futures programme.”

Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank, added:

“When we started the Danske Futures Apprenticeship programme back in 2018, it was an extremely exciting time and initiative for us. Since then, we’ve expanded the programme and have four different apprentice programmes and have 62 apprentices throughout our business. Through our apprenticeship programmes, we’ve been able to bring new skills and fresh ideas into the bank while supporting the learning and development of our colleagues.

“The Danske Futures scheme is a great opportunity for ambitious school leavers to kickstart a career, and it’s also a fantastic opportunity for those who are looking for a career change to retrain and reskill, all while studying for a fully funded degree.”

Ruth Mercer, Programme Director at Ulster University said:

“We’re now in the fourth year of our partnership with Danske Bank in their Danske Futures Higher Level Apprenticeship programme, which is funded by the Department for the Economy. It’s been a fantastic partnership to work on, and it’s brilliant to see the first cohort of Apprentices fully complete the programme, achieving excellent results in their studies and all continuing on in full-time employment in Danske Bank.

“What’s clear to see is the growth in these people from the beginning of the programme to now – their confidence, knowledge and skills have all been greatly improved and it’s fantastic to see them applying their skills to their workplaces now.

“The BSc (Hons) ‘Leading on Customer Operations’ delivers organisational performance and interpersonal excellence through a focus on business insight, technology adoption and human centred design. This degree combined with real world experience, provides graduates with a valuable advantage in today’s customer operations environment and offers an exciting, dynamic career opportunity in an ever-evolving financial sector, and we’re so looking forward to welcoming the next intake later this year.”