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From Apprentice to Intelligence Analyst: Ciaran’s Career Journey

We’re committed to customer service in every aspect of our business. Whilst some aspects of this commitment are easy to see, such as our branches, call centres and friendly web-chat advisors, there’s a multitude of roles across the bank that might not be obviously customer-facing but have doing the right thing for our customers very much at their heart.

It’s something that becomes apparent to everyone the moment they join us, and only gets stronger as their career with us develops. Our apprenticeships are a great example of this, and we caught up with Ciaran Pugh to find out more. Ciaran is based in Edinburgh and joined the bank in 2016 as a Business & Administration Apprentice.

He’s now in a fascinating role as a Threat Intelligence Analyst, and it’s a role that’s all about customer service. ‘I decided to join the bank straight from school as I’m someone who learns through experience rather than academic learning, and the scale of opportunities available was very attractive. The apprenticeship allowed me to learn a lot about the bank and decide on a career path. I really enjoyed it, everyone made me feel welcome and wanted me to do well. I was given real responsibilities early on, and my confidence and abilities quickly developed.’

Ciaran is just one of over 1000 people to have been part of our apprenticeship programme since 2015, with up to 300 new apprentices joining the programme every year. Our Apprenticeship Manager Mike White explains how the programme works. ‘We’ve got opportunities for apprentices across a number of our departments, such as Business & Administration, Customer Service, Technology, HR, and Finance. Apprenticeships are open to new starters and to existing employees as well, and they involve up to four hours per week study time as well as the experience and learning achieved in the job, day to day. The apprentices get a lot of support from their line managers and colleagues to make sure their progress is on track to complete the programme. There are plenty of opportunities to network with colleagues in other departments and to learn about many different aspects of the bank.’

We’re transforming into the digital bank of the future, investing resources into innovative ways to use technology to improve processes and deliver great customer service. Following his apprenticeship Ciaran decided that technology was the part of the bank where he wanted to develop his career, with an emphasis on security. ‘I firstly worked as part of the fraud and cyber teams before moving into my current role as a Threat Intelligence Analyst focusing on physical crime, and country security and terrorism. No two days are the same, but a big part of my role is to gather intelligence regarding the possibility of physical threats to branches, ATMs, and customer safety, as well as general intelligence regarding crime in every area of the UK. I work out strategies to make sure our customers and colleagues stay safe and can go about their business without worry.’

Ciaran relies on some sophisticated technology to help deliver his role, and is excited by the innovative technology that’s increasingly part of day to day life at the bank.

‘In my team we get a lot of information coming through that needs to be understood and acted upon quickly. Technology helps us keep on top of things and make sure the information we receive is processed efficiently. For example, I use a mapping tool that helps me identify all our branches and cash machines across the country, and to identify those in particular hot-spots for physical crime that might need to be made more secure or be made more aware of risks. Looking to the future, I’m excited by the prospect of fully digital branches, and I think our digital transformation is really delivering the modern services and products that our customers are demanding. Technology is going to play a bigger and bigger part in the bank, and it’s a great place to work if you have a love of technology, data, and innovation.’

Ciaran also spends part of his time visiting schools in his area to talk about his role and the apprenticeship route that started his career. ‘It’s really rewarding to explain to young people what an apprenticeship is really like. It’s great to dispel some myths and explain how an apprenticeship is a real job with real prospects, and to be able to speak from experience. For anyone considering a career at RBS I’d encourage them to research the different departments and roles on offer and see which fit with their individual interests, goals and ambitions. Data analytics is one of those roles that can lead to experiences in many varied areas of the bank. There’s lots of opportunity to meet people from different departments and identify other areas you want to explore. The chance to grow a career and work your way up is there if you want to take it.’

Learn more about an apprenticeship role at Ulster Bank.

View apprenticeships