With over 32,000 applicants onto UK law courses in 2012 alone, and only 6,758 then making it on to be solicitors in England and Wales*, it’s clear that the legal industry is a tough career to get into. But there are other options. Read Nadine's story for just some of the opportunities for law graduates at Nationwide. *Source: lawsociety.org.uk
Working in financial services hadn't really crossed my mind as a child; but in all fairness, neither had being a pop star or a vet (though I think the concept of being an actress was entertained). By the age of twelve I was already proudly announcing that I wanted to be a barrister when I was older. I got more than one curious glance for that.
I was called to the bar just as the economic crisis was coming into full swing
This meant fewer pupillages (which are the final stages of legal training), but still the same amount of debt associated with qualifying. Deep down I knew I needed to be earning, even if the source of income wasn't a pupillage.
I'd already worked for Nationwide as a temp after completing my A-level exams, saving some money before heading off to university to study law. I then continued to come back to Nationwide during holidays to keep myself occupied and top up my balance whilst I could.
Five years later I came back to Nationwide on a more permanent basis, applying initially for an administrative role. That was having completed a degree in law, travelled around the world and finally earned the right to call myself a barrister-at-law in the intervening years.
Given my previous experience with Nationwide I could appreciate it was a good company to work for, and knew that if I opted not to go back to law there was the opportunity for career progression within the business. I'll admit I was nervous of applying, because it felt like I was turning my back on everything I'd been working towards, and my childhood dream.
Since then I've been lucky enough to have stability (I've been with NBS since 2005) but still with plenty of variety and experience. I started off my career in the technology helpline, and since then I've moved to Branch Systems, had a short stint in Agency Support, spent some time in Business Transformation, as well as working for our Collections and Recoveries team in Swindon.
From there I moved into Risk, managing our credit reference agency relationships
- working with the likes of Experian, Equifax and Call Credit. This movement around the business has given me a strong understanding of what's undertaken in both our admin and retail functions, and paved the way for my latest promotion. I'm now one of Nationwides Commerical Managers - sourcing services from external suppliers.
When I'm not in work I love volunteering and fundraising when possible; I've volunteered at the Citizens Advice Bureau, and I've also worked with prisoners at the women's prison in Bristol. My last big out of work fundraiser was running a marathon last year, and I've also helped with fund raising for Anthony Nolan. It's great that we get up to 14 hours paid leave to dedicate to local initiatives.
Day-to-day what surprises me the most about working here is the generosity of our colleagues; there's a real generosity with time and knowledge. Not only do we want to be the best, but we want the rest of the business to be the best too; and it all seems to tie in to a desire to do what's best for our customers. Tthat's not something I'd consider synonymous with the financial services industry, particularly as a consumer.
Even though it's not what I'd planned to do after university, I've worked with some great people in each and every team, and made some great friends along the way
It's the people and ethos of Nationwide that's kept me here, that and the variety. I get to work with people all across the business and interact with 3rd party suppliers so no two days are ever the same!
Right now we have a number of roles to choose from in our Risk teams.