Ulster Bank is to launch a new programme giving young people customer service apprenticeships in Belfast.
The scheme will support young people facing barriers in their early career, giving them permanent jobs and the tools and support to succeed.
Twenty-four roles will be available in Belfast as part of 150 announced by NatWest across the UK.
Through the new apprenticeships, Ulster Bank will further develop its helpline services for customers and have agents on hand for more complex queries.
The bank recently extended its dedicated support line to the over 60s, which was previously for over 70s, and also extended its dedicated NHS staff line to include social care workers.
The apprentices will join a two-week preparation and bootcamp followed by work experience within the bank’s contact centre.
The bootcamp will offer a combination of pastoral support, employment skills, and personal and professional opportunities to ensure young people are confident, ready and equipped for the workplace.
The bootcamp will be in partnership with Leadership Though Sport and Business (LTSB), a social mobility charity.
The opportunities will be open to young people aged 16-24 and will be rolled out in waves throughout 2021.
Belfast has been selected as an area where youth unemployment is an issue and the impact of Covid-19 has hit young people disproportionately.
The bank will focus on support in particular for those identified as being eligible for free school meals, live in areas of deprivation and face multiple barriers to employment and career opportunities.
This follows NatWest launching a bespoke Digital and Innovation Apprenticeship programme in 2019 designed to support young people from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds.
Joanne Wilson, Customer Experience Lead at Ulster Bank, said: “We are really pleased, as part of NatWest, to be able to create these opportunities in Belfast and to announce them as part of National Careers Week.
“They will support young people facing barriers in their early career, giving them permanent jobs and the tools and support to succeed.”
Simon Separghan, Head of Customer Experience & Contact at NatWest, said: “National Careers Week is a time to encourage young people to stop, pause and think about their future careers.
“By championing the potential of young people in potentially difficult or dire situations through our partnership, we aim to provide the skills and support needed to set them up for success in their future careers.”
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