SCHOOL leavers looking for a career in financial services heard an inspiring tale from a current apprentice at Nationwide last night.

Elrich Gonsalves, 20, who went to St Joseph’s College, joined Nationwide’s Apprenticeship Scheme in 2016.

Since starting he has been promoted to be an IT analyst and is also given extra time to study for a degree in business management.

He told the Adver at the tail end of National Apprenticeship Week, there should be more awareness about the positives of going down the alternative route to university.

“I was always under the impression apprenticeships were to do with the building trade, never finance or IT,” he said.

“My dad is in engineering and my mum is a teacher so they weren’t too sure about apprenticeships when I first approached the idea, but once my mum found out more she was really supportive.

“Most of my class at college actually went to university, and nobody knew you could go down this route.

“That’s why I think raising awareness of it this week is really important.
“I think most of them are all stressing about dissertations now, but for us its really simple. We have support from the Emerging Talent Team you have extra support from your training provider to give you that breathing space.
“It’s the best of both worlds, you get paid and you study at the same time,” he added.

He is also an ambassador for the Swindon Learning Town initiative and gave a talk-show style Q&A to prospective apprentices at an event last night.

Kate Munro, emerging talent manager at Nationwide, said:

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to experience first hand what working in a fast-paced business environment is really like. 

“Our scheme allows successful candidates to work in several different areas, learn key skills and develop their knowledge of how a business works. 

“As well as the qualifications that can be gained, apprentices will also join the society as full-time permanent employees. 

“University isn’t for everyone and we want to spread the word that any apprenticeship, whether at Nationwide or elsewhere, is worth considering.”