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Making the most of the Graduate Programme


Hayley joined our Graduate Programme 1 year ago, straight from three years studying for her degree in Media & Cultural Studies. Hayley’s current role at Nationwide is as a Senior Analyst, but as part of the Graduate Programme she has the opportunity to work on wider projects to help support her development.

Making the most of the Graduate Programme

I’ve got a number of friends who have been fortunate to join graduate programmes at companies across the country, in a variety of industries, but the one thing that stands out to me when I’m chatting to my friends about our various graduate schemes are the opportunities I have had as a Nationwide Graduate outside of my day-to-day role.

Six months into my graduate programme I started to work on the Student Ambassador Project (SAP).

The project involves myself and the other graduates visiting universities across the country to work as brand ambassadors to showcase our graduate scheme.

The project enables the graduates to experience project management, teamwork, stakeholder management and to become brand ambassadors for Nationwide.

“ Having the chance to own a project from end-to-end, being able to put my own stamp on my work and work amongst my graduate peers has been a great experience! It’s really enabled me to identify where my strengths and weaknesses lie. ”

Student Ambassador Project

We’ve been able to work with a range of Universities across the country. My group have been Nationwide Ambassadors for the University of Nottingham (UoN) and Nottingham Trent University (NTU).

We’ve been able to set-up and run our own events, participate in careers fayres and sponsor events whilst managing a tight budget.

The project has given me the chance to work on my influencing skills  and gain great exposure around the business as we’ve negotiated with senior stakeholders for their buy-in to our project ideas and have even managed to acquire more budget.

I’m not sure I’d have had the confidence to be negotiating over budget with senior stakeholders this time last year - It just highlights how far I’ve come in such a short space of time! 

“ Whilst I knew some of those on my project team very well, I had only really exchanged polite hellos with others. Six months down the line of the project, I can now firmly say we have all become good friends and talk to one another on a daily basis! ”

Meet the Nationwide Student Ambassadors

My project team is made up of a variety of graduates with  different university degrees and on different graduate programmes at Nationwide.

Sophie, our UoN Delivery Manager has a Master’s degree in Occupational Psychology, Dan is our resident NTU Delivery Manager with a degree in Economics, Finance & Banking and Alana is responsible for all things Governance and Budgeting with a degree in Mathematics. Brad shares joint Stakeholder Management and Social Media responsibilities with myself. Brad’s degree is in Marketing Management & Branding.

“ What I personally found was that whilst at times it can be stressful juggling a day job with the extra pressure of pulling off what we hope will be a series of fantastic projects, the skills I have learnt and will continue to learn from the Graduate Programme and opportunities such as the Student Ambassador Project along the way are invaluable. ”

As we work across a variety of departments within the business we have a number of contacts and experiences which has been hugely beneficial to us.

Never has the saying ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ rung more true than working on the SAP and between us we have been scouring the business for potential stakeholders, merchandise ideas, extra resource or ingenious thoughts to make sure we deliver a successful project.

My biggest takeaway from the programme

Whilst SAP is still on-going, I’ve already gained so much experience and improved many of my skills. However, my biggest takeaway from the project to date for myself is that collaboration is key. 

I think when we first started the project, the different SAP groups were looking to really stand out individually, showing a competitive edge to succeed. 

What’s great about the graduate programme is that it is a time to learn and make mistakes -  we all soon realised competing against one another wasn’t going to help us collectively meet our end goal.

Collaboration between teams was soon underway and we have all progressed both our projects and own personal development hugely working this way. 

Our graduate opportunities 

Take a look at our graduate schemes.

What's the most important thing to look for in a graduate scheme?

Which of the below do you think is the most important thing you should look for in a graduate scheme:


  • Sophie

    Career progression is the main factor for choosing the graduate scheme for Nationwide. However, variation and working with like-minded, friendly colleagues are also very important in order to develop personally and professionally throughout my career.

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