Learning Town makes 20-year-old Elrich a big success

Each month we will be shining a light on some inspirational stories to promote our lifelong learning initiative, Swindon Learning Town.

Published: Tuesday, 19th February 2019
Elrich gonsalves learning town case study

Nationwide employee Elrich Gonsalves is our second Learner of the Month. Here is his story.

Twenty-year-old Elrich’s learning journey started back in 2016 when he was considering his options after completing his A-Levels at St Joseph’s Catholic College.

Having studied Economics, Geography, Business and Sociology at A-Level, Elrich found himself at a bit of a crossroads when deciding his future career path.

“I wasn’t sure what to do after sixth form and, in all honesty, I had no idea about the apprentice route that was available,” he explained. “I always thought that they were only for the building trade! I had no idea there were opportunities to enter a financial institution through an apprenticeship, but luckily one of my friends introduced me to the concept."

Elrich discovered then apprenticeship opportunities at Nationwide and the rest is history. He said: “I applied then and there in-between my lessons, not actually thinking I’d get the position.

“Two years later, I’ve now moved on from the Level 3 apprenticeship I originally started with, and I’m now studying for a business management degree. I can honestly say it’s the best decision I’ve made after leaving full-time education. Earning a salary whilst studying for a degree is truly the best of both worlds.

“Nationwide have been, and continue to be, brilliant; the support network and dedicated emerging talent team really gives you all the support you’d ever need and they are always working in your best interest. The possibilities are endless.”

Now working as an IT Disaster Recovery Analyst at the Pipers Way building society, Elrich has these words of advice for anyone not sure about extending their full-time studies.

“I had initially deferred my unconditional Uni offer when I was offered a place at Nationwide (just in case I didn’t like it) so my advice would be do your research. There are plenty of routes to take post full-time education, and it just depends on what you want,” Elrich said.

“For me, an apprenticeship at Nationwide proved to be the best option. Saying that, if you aren’t planning to go to Uni, then I highly recommend seeking out an apprenticeship instead of going into full-time work as it opens so many doors and leaves you with a qualification that you’ll hold for life. There are so many areas where apprenticeships are on offer, so you’re bound to find something that interests you.”

One of the main benefits of completing an apprenticeship is that your employer provides support to allow you to complete your studies while you do your job.

Elrich said: “It’s very easy. The apprenticeship works around your job, and Nationwide have been brilliant in supporting me with my studies and giving me any advice and support I may need. As an apprentice you’re entitled to 20 per cent of your work time to study so you’ll also have time.

“All you’d have to do is work on managing your time as effectively as you can, and if you ever feel like you need some breathing space, there’s an abundance of professional help available, be that from your training provider or your employer.”

For more information, visit the Swindon Learning Town website.

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