Published: August 17, 2022
The programme works with more than 700 companies across 24 sectors. It aims to help young people gain valuable work experience and training.
Unity received 160 applications for the two internships. The successful candidates were 19-year-old Antsha Oloyede and 20-year-old Vanessa Kutin, both from London.
Antsha, who joined the Unity Connect team in June as part of a three-month placement, has just completed her first year at the University of Birmingham where she is studying maths.
When we spoke to Antsha about the role, she said: “I’m not sure which career path to go down yet. I would like to do internships in different industries over the next three summers so that I can learn as much as I can and understand what different jobs entail.
“The 10,000 Black Interns programme was recommended to me by a member of my family. I thought I would have a better chance of getting an internship through them because I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it before.
“When I told them I’d like to work in finance, investment or information technology, they allocated a list of companies, including Unity. They said the companies would be in touch if they were interested.
“I had a first interview with Julia Tarpey, who is HR Director. Then I had a second interview with Jade and Laura from Unity Connect. I’ve worked in a shop before, but that was through a friend of a friend. These were the first proper interviews I have had. I was very nervous and studied really hard for the interviews and was shocked to get this far. I was quite impressed with myself that I’d been chosen from 160 people. It was a good feeling.
“When I joined, I observed all of the areas of the department to get an idea what each colleague does and now I’m working with the High Value team and assisting them with inward payments and faster payments. I’m really enjoying it and I’m learning something new every day. I’m also learning a lot from listening to colleagues on the phone and how they solve issues.
“I’ve also spent time shadowing the Financial Crime team and assisting in a monitoring project. Soon, I will be shadowing the Credit Underwriting team. I am thankful to be able to explore different areas in the bank and gain an insight into them.
“I had an impression of internships through what I’d seen online and I thought I might have been pushed to one side, but this is a very different experience to how it’s portrayed in films. It’s been a very good experience and a very welcoming environment.
“Through the university, I teach maths to Year 12s and when I saw that Unity were recruiting an apprentice, I promoted it to my students and told them this would be a good place to get work experience
“I didn’t know anything about Unity before I did my research for the interview. Unity’s ethos makes sense to me and is aligned with my own morals. I took A Level geography and I believe that giving back, economic development and having a fair society are very important.”
Vanessa Kutin joined Unity in July on a 12-month placement with the Credit Underwriting team. She is two years into a degree in Economics and Management at Aston University and as part of her course students can use their third year to gain work experience.
Vanessa said: “I started applying for internships last October. It was hard because a lot of companies aren’t taking people on because of Covid.
“I heard about the 10,000 Black Interns programme on social media. They have been a great help in improving my interview skills. Even though they can’t guarantee a placement I’ve had quite a few interviews now so they are less scary!
“During my interview with Unity I said that I wanted to work in banking but wasn’t sure which field yet. I then had an interview with the Credit Underwriting team and I was offered a 12-month internship. I’d also been offered a summer internship with a bank in London in consumer retail but this was a better opportunity in a specific field.
“It was quite nerve-wracking walking into a new environment and being so young. Everyone’s been really friendly and I’m finding my way around the company.
“I hope to gain some experience of working within a bank. I’d like to get a better understanding of the role of a credit underwriter. I’m also looking forward to gaining general experience and getting exposure to other roles within the banking sector. I’m hoping to get a clearer idea of the field I’d like to enter once graduated.
“Last year I took a module in Corporate Social Responsibility, looking at businesses, governments and societies. I learned a lot more about the companies that engage with it and how they do things differently. I’m really interested in it and was pleased to learn about Unity’s ethics and the volunteering work they do.”
Julia Tarpey is the HR Director at Unity Trust Bank. She said: “We are delighted to participate in the 10,000 Black Interns programme. We had over 160 applicants for two paid work experience placements and the quality of candidates was very high.
“We welcomed Antsha and Vanessa to Unity this summer to our Customer Services and Risk teams. This is an exciting time to join Unity, when our growth plans are really starting to take off. We are confident that the placements will be mutually beneficial.”
Julie Quist-Therson is the Programme Manager at 10,000 Black Interns. She said: “The 10,000 Black Interns Programme supports members of the Black student and graduate population to access amazing internships across the country. In doing this, the Programme broadens the prospects of thousands of young black people. It also makes the workplaces of the UK much more reflective of the wider world.
“In preparation for the summer, our interns undergo an extensive training programme. This helps to build their confidence and hit the ground running.
“It is so rewarding to then see interns from universities thriving at work. They’re taking those first crucial steps in their career paths.
“The Programme works so well due to the thousands of talented interns we support, and the dedicated colleagues from firms across the country who understand the Programme’s aims and want to effect real change and long-lasting impact.”