Matthew joined Nationwide's Technology Development Programme (or ‘TDP’), straight from four years studying for a Masters in Chemical Engineering. During this time his dissertation was around using graphene oxide to improve fuel cell performance.
I studied in Manchester, which is a fantastic city to live in. At the moment I live in Oxford, but I’ll soon be relocating to Swindon to save on driving. I wasn’t nervous about moving as I’d already moved for university, but I’ll admit there are times when I miss Manchester a lot!
My role so far has been in Application Support Control, resolving incidents and problems associated with NW’s applications – these underpin crucial services such as branch software and the online bank.
I guess the easiest way to explain it is that my role helps ‘keep the lights on’ behind the scenes to make sure everything works for our customers and employees.
I also work with some of our external technical partners in India – which means I get to travel now and then too which I’ve enjoyed. When I tell people what I do they tend to be interested to hear how I’m able to support such important areas of the business…. my friends tend to wind me up for being a ‘sell out’ though!
“ Since university only half of my friends have been able to start in the career they wanted, which is mainly Chemical Engineering. ”
One of my friends has started training as an accountant at Deloitte, while a few others have been looking at PhDs (especially my Geology friends). I’ve definitely taken a different career path to them, but I feel really lucky to have secured such an exciting opportunity.
If I hadn’t been offered a place on the TDP then I’d probably be working as a chemical engineer, most likely ensuring a chemical factory/refinery/ or food factory etc were running smoothly. I also have dreams of starting my own brewery in the back of my mind too. At school I’d spent a long time dreaming of being an F1 driver, but I realised fairly early it was unrealistic. I also considered going into accountancy because I was very good at maths - and I’d heard about big pay cheques!
Since starting at Nationwide I’ve probably spent the most money on drum and bass nights – probably touching £500 including travel, drinks and costumes (priest and an inflatable unicorn). If I wasn’t so wasteful I might have bought myself some decks by now.
Since starting the main skills that have come to the fore have been my problem solving, relationship building and ability to multi task.
I’d expected lots of meetings and also a very friendly, open organisation; I’d say that both are true, although there’s definitely a lot more to it than that. In my next role I’ll be moving into AS Assurance, which is looking at Knowledge Management – again focused on incidents and problem solving.
Day to day I see some of the TDP guys more than others as we sit near each other at head office. The whole group is great though; everyone is friendly and willing to get involved in just about anything. Training days with the group are always brilliant, as we seem to spend most of the time laughing.
If you're interested in applying, take a look at our TDP page.
Alternatively, why not take a look at other opportunities within the technical practice.