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Jack: What I've gained so far from my Industrial Placement

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Jack: What I've gained so far from my Industrial Placement

We spoke to Jack about his Industrial Placement experience so far and how it will support his university degree.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Jack and I joined Nationwide on the Industrial Placement Scheme in September 2023. I study Business and Management at Durham University and have joined the Portfolio Planning and Governance team at Nationwide.  I'm passionate about driving my professional development and a placement like this is the perfect environment to facilitate that.  

How will your Industrial Placement support your university degree?

My Industrial Placement experience will be foundational to the final year of my degree.  It has already allowed me to gain valuable hands-on experience and given me the chance to apply concepts which I had previously learned at university. Having real-world business context will allow me to extract maximum value from the topics in the third year - enhancing my understanding and improving my work, a huge advantage over my peers. Similarly, the development of my collaboration and presentation skills will be a huge asset when it comes to final-year group work. Perhaps most importantly it has given me a range of potential topics for a dissertation, with examples and contacts to help.

How have you developed as a person whilst on the programme?

The Industrial Placement scheme has already allowed me to develop hugely as a person. I have become more confident in my communication skills, both verbal and written, and I have improved my ability to prioritise tasks and manage workloads. Additionally, I have learned how to build strong working relationships with colleagues and have developed my self-motivation and problem-solving skills. Crucially, I feel this has all come together to give me a solid foundation on which I can continue to build my skills across a future career. 

What new knowledge have you gained?

I've been able to develop a huge range of knowledge through my Industrial Placement, both in terms of breadth and depth. The immersion within the financial services environment has allowed me to develop a strong commercial awareness and understanding of the industry, which is already helping in my day-to-day work and will certainly be a great benefit upon returning to university. At the same time, my work within portfolio management has exposed me to the world of change every day, from multiple perspectives all across our portfolio - with the exposure to project management, planning and governance roles allowing me to see the full picture and develop a more holistic understanding of the change process.

What new skills have you gained?

I've been able to gain lots of new skills through my Industrial Placement. I've been able to improve a range of my hard skills from Excel and PowerPoint work to portfolio planning - with daily exposure to a wide range of tasks. I have also gained a significant amount of highly transferable soft skills, such as problem-solving, communication and collaboration. Presenting is likely the skill I've been able to develop the most during my placement, which has given me the confidence to both present and discuss work I've completed with senior stakeholders - a skill which will serve me well when returning to university and in my future career. 

How have your relationships become more rewarding?

Nationwide has been a great place to develop relationships and I've been able to develop a number of new, more rewarding relationships. This has been facilitated by the eagerness of people to help and act as mentors, with a range of people taking time and going out of their way to provide guidance and explain topics in detail to junior colleagues. We're also encouraged to develop close working relationships with all members of our teams, our line managers and our task managers. Having this range of mentors to work with is great for equipping you to deal with any situation - being able to draw on knowledge from each of their areas of expertise. 

What Nationwide benefits are most important to you?

The most important benefit offered by Nationwide to me, as an Industrial Placement student, is their commitment to our personal and professional development. We have access to a huge range of both internal and external learning materials - centralised in an easy to navigate platform. Not only are we given access to this, but we are also actively encouraged to engage with the content in self-led learning, being given development time each week that we can use as we see fit to progressively develop our skills and knowledge.  On top of this, we're given the opportunity to return later in our careers to continue our professional journeys with Nationwide. 

Find out about our current Industrial Placement opportunities here.