From education to employment

Sparta Global and NatWest Forge Path for Inclusive Tech Talent Acquisition

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Sparta Global is partnering with NatWest to secure technology talent from diverse backgrounds to support the continued growth of its One Bank Mortgages (OBM) platform. 

The OBM team is responsible for delivering a quality, compliant, and inclusive mortgage service. Recognising the talent in these teams is critical for banks to innovate, adapt, and succeed – OBM has led a fundamental shift in how NatWest hires and develops early careers talent across critical functions.

Sparta Global’s HTD model presented an opportunity for OBM to engage with a diverse and passionate emerging talent community that would feed into NatWest’s permanent workforce capability. Together, the organisations could find, train and nurture OBM’s next generation of digital leaders by providing opportunities for those from under-represented communities to progress within a major retail bank.

Before being assigned to NatWest, Spartans completed paid training programmes across Java Development, Test, and DevOps, with training designed to help them hit the ground running, with the skills to adapt, pick up skills quickly, and collaborate with the wider team.

Sparta Global CEO, David Rai, says;

“The financial services industry is undergoing major digital transformation to improve operations and keep up with customer expectations. As a skills shortage prevails, tapping into underrepresented groups who offer diverse skills and opinions will only promote the innovation needed.”

In January 2022, 12 “Spartan” consultants specialising in Software Engineering, Test Automation, and DevOps were selected to join NatWest’s OBM team. Those joining were made up of women, those first in their families to go to university, and individuals from minority backgrounds. These consultants secured the opportunity on attitude, aptitude and potential alone – not prior technology experience or educational background. Since joining the team, 11 have converted to full-time employees at NatWest to continue their personal and professional growth.

Gary Johnson, Head of Transformation OBM, NatWest Group, says:

“We tried something new in One Bank Mortgages and wow, has it worked. Many times we’ve seen teams bring in early career talent and fall into the trap of constraining their ability to shine. We decided that if we hired great people, who just happened to have shorter CVs than others, then we should find a way to create a space for them to demonstrate what they could do but also to learn and grow,”

Spartans entered NatWest with the potential to succeed, but it was the OBM team who harnessed this – giving the emerging talent recruits opportunities to programme in pairs to bridge knowledge gaps, upskill in areas that interested them, take it in turns to be team Scrum Masters and be vocal about their personal career goals in an inclusive space. All Spartans were able to complete agile learning pathways and continue with self-directed learning.

Gary continues;

“Everyone had an opportunity to succeed, to fail, and to learn. Some have discovered a passion for parts of the job they didn’t know about, while others have simply been able to do what they always wanted. All have excelled. The result is that our One Bank Broker Portal now supports the placing of Coutts’ specialist mortgages business. This is a significant enhancement to the portal and delivers real value for our customers.”

David Rai adds;

“Successfully hiring today’s generation of early career talent requires an understanding of their attributes, an empathy for their diverse values, and a management style that engages their interests and preferences. NatWest and the OBM team understand this ethos and together have created an exceptional environment for emerging talent to thrive and contribute to future organisational success”.

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