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A degree is just the cherry on the cake

Posted by Alex Heron, about 2 months ago

2 min read

“Good programmers can come from any background” was the inspiring declaration of Principal Engineer Umang Doctor at the launch of our Uplift programme last year,this statement has been proven to be true time and time again.

What is our Uplift programme?

Our Uplift programme in India is run in partnership with non-governmental organisations Navgurukul and Golden Heart. Uplift provides development opportunities to young people from underprivileged backgrounds to help them find their first job.

Starting with just nine interns last year the programme has increased it’s intake to 25 this year with a plan in-place to increase this number again in 2024.

Umang Doctor who launched Uplift is excited to see how quickly the programme has grown:

‘My passion for life is to help solve the unemployment problem in India, and so to me this programme feels like an instrumental success because this proves that this model of employment can and does work.’

‘NatWest is the first major company in India to attempt a programme like this. The fact that we’ve proven that this model works for us gives me confidence that the same model can be used in other industries throughout the country.’

Looking beyond traditional education

Until recently, Computer Science has been a career option open only to people with college degrees – something that is out of reach for many people in India – but we’re working to open up non-traditional routes into the field to everyone. As the daughter of a maid and autorickshaw driver, a career in software engineering isn’t something Bhagyashree Karale imagined for herself. But thanks to our Uplift programme in India, she’s now in a position to pay for her younger brother’s education and to study for a computer science degree alongside her job.

Bhagyashree says the internship has given her opportunities to develop both professionally and personally:

‘As an intern, your thoughts and contributions are valued every day as you work alongside respectful and welcoming staff.’

‘The bank invests lots of time and effort into our interns. The various tasks I completed allowed me to understand what my strengths are and what I want to work with in the future. I gained a variety from soft and hard skills that will be applicable to my career.’

‘The best part was that it was a programme focusing on my holistic development rather than making me just work.’

‘Being selected for this internship is a great honour and I would highly recommend this internship program to anyone considering it! In fact, we need many more such internship programs to recognise the talents individuals hold regardless of the educational qualification they possess. For me, getting a permanent job offer post internship from such a top organisation was beyond my wildest expectations. It’s high time we realise that a degree is just the cherry on the cake.’

Where do we go from here?

With the programme proving to be such a success throughout our tech roles, we’re looking to expand Uplift to other areas of the bank including; risk, finance, communications and marketing and much much more.

However Umang sees this as just the beginning:

‘We are only a small group of individuals running this programme but our vision is to help 25,000 women into employment over the next five years.’

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