In 2022, AIB ranked sixth in LinkedIn’s list of the top 25 workplaces to grow your career in Ireland, and through its graduate and apprenticeship programmes, the bank fosters a positive environment for young people seeking a great place to develop their careers.
When David Arnold finished his Leaving Cert in 2020, he took a gap year before considering college options. While looking, he learned about the International Financial Services apprenticeship programme, which he began two months ago. He says, “After working in construction and retail, AIB gave me an opportunity through this apprenticeship scheme to join a programme that offered me both a college placement and a career.”
David works four days a week at AIB and spends one day studying at the National College of Ireland (NCI), under the apprenticeship programme that lasts two years.
“I’m from an area in Dublin that wouldn’t have a lot of people going to college. The level of support from AIB is fantastic. AIB provides us with work mentors, who give us invaluable guidance, and everyone at AIB has taken time out of their day to welcome me into the company and take me under their wing. The interview did an amazing job of helping me find out which area of the business would interest me the most. I’m working in Capital Markets, and we’re very busy with the onboarding of Ulster Bank’s corporate and commercial loan book.
“I would encourage anybody to get involved in the apprenticeship programme. Most of the apprentices are teenagers, including myself, so it’s a great place to start a career,” he added.
Given the size and breadth of our activities, we are positioned to offer an extensive employee experience for those seeking to specialise or those looking for a varied career.
AIB also has an award-winning graduate offering with gradireland naming AIB as the “Most Popular Graduate Recruiter in Banking, Investment & Financial Services” for the past three years.
The programme gives graduates the opportunity to gain a variety of broad work experiences with a strong ethos of mentoring and coaching. Speaking about the graduate programmes, AIB’s chief people officer Geraldine Casey said, “Given the size and breadth of our activities, we are positioned to offer an extensive employee experience for those seeking to specialise or those looking for a varied career.
“Our specialist units, like legal and technology, are among the biggest in the country, providing huge growth and experience potential. A key part of our career development strategy is encouraging the movement of people around the organisation, giving an option of variety for the individual, and innovation, collaboration and transference of ideas for the organisation.”
Zoe Naughton joined the AIB Graduate Programme in 2019 and has really embraced the opportunity to move around AIB and gain a breadth of experience. Zoe has worked in Syndicated and International Finance; Energy, Climate Action and Infrastructure; and Corporate Banking and was promoted in 2021 to Senior Analyst in the bank’s fast-growing Energy, Climate Action and Infrastructure division which is backing the green businesses of the future. Sustainability is a key strategic priority and AIB is focused on reducing its own carbon footprint and supporting its 2.8 million customers to reduce their carbon emissions. The aim is that 70 per cent of the bank’s new lending will be green or transition lending by 2030.
Zoe explains: “AIB has a collaborative culture at its heart. Moving around to different teams has been a really good experience. Everyone is willing to help each other out. When you’re in different areas of the bank you meet so many people, and you can learn so much from them.”
That also comes in useful for exams. Zoe, who was awarded Top Affiliate in Ireland and seventh in the world for her ACCA 2021 exam results, outlines. “Lots of other colleagues were also doing exams. We were able to discuss our experiences and scenarios to support each other, so there’s a collegiate environment. It’s so important to know there are others you can lean on and that you can help each other out.” AIB provided financial support for Zoe’s exams and accommodated time off for study.
AIB operates a flexible hybrid working model enabled by best-in-class technologies. Since 2018, AIB has successfully transitioned to the cloud for key employee end-user services, ensuring a frictionless, secure experience.
Ryan Spencer graduated from the University of Galway (NUIG) with a four-year degree in international commerce and German before joining AIB’s graduate programme in September 2021. He says, “When I first joined AIB, we were working completely remotely due to the pandemic. It’s now a blend of on-site and remote work, where the whole Data & Analytics team meets weekly in the Central Park office in Leopardstown. The IT systems allow me to comfortably work three days a week from home.”
The Data & Analytics graduate programme rotates the graduates through three different teams over 23 months to give them a variety of experience. Ryan says, “The first team that I was in dealt with predictive modelling, which utilises data through machine learning, and I particularly enjoyed how hands-on the work is. While still with AIB, I’m now completing a higher diploma in artificial intelligence and machine learning, which is helping me bridge some of the technical skills needed for the role.”
As part of the graduate programme, AIB also offers a range of training courses on soft skills. He says, “The courses, on everything from critical thinking to communication skills, complement the technical skills learned on the job. AIB’s mentoring and coaching programme is also very useful in helping me figure out in which direction I want to develop my career. The people that work at the bank are very eager to help, which is great for learning about the technology side of data analytics since it’s always changing.”
In addition to providing a flexible hybrid working model and varied learning and development opportunities, AIB fosters a culture of wellbeing, offering a variety of supports to help staff thrive and be at their best in their careers. Geraldine Casey says, “We run bespoke wellbeing programmes year-round incorporating physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing, supported by continuous training and bank-wide network of Engagement Advocates.”
AIB’s mentoring and coaching programme is also very useful in helping me figure out in which direction I want to develop my career.
In addition to its always-on confidential Employee Assistance Programme (which is open to both colleagues and their family members), AIB has created several bespoke mental health supports.
Mental health awareness is incorporated into the wider professional development program, empowering people to identify and support colleagues who are struggling with mental health. A strong network of 1,000 Mental Health Advocates has grown within AIB, with one in ten employees now certified as an Advocate.
The bank works to ensure that inclusion is a universal experience for all employees. AIB is the only Irish bank and largest employer of only seven companies in Ireland to achieve the Gold Investors in Diversity accreditation. The Gold accreditation was awarded to AIB based on progress in I&D in areas such as leadership, policies, recruitment and impact on external diversity. AIB’s five Inclusion Networks (Employee Resource Groups) covering pride, gender balance, life & family, abilities and roots give colleagues an opportunity to contribute and generate ideas on how AIB can become a more inclusive workplace where diversity of talent is embraced. In recent years the bank has made significant progress on promoting gender balance at all levels of the organisation and is focused on building a diverse talent pipeline.
Whether someone is starting their career or an industry veteran, AIB offers various pathways into employment and a supportive environment that enables meaningful career growth.
For more see jobs.aib.ie.