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Students from a North East university have teamed up with the region’s biggest building society to produce a report on what their peers expect from modern financial institutions.
 
Newcastle Building Society and its subsidiary, Newcastle Strategic Solutions, has partnered with Northumbria University’s Business Clinic scheme, which enables students to replace their dissertations with collaborative real life projects for regional businesses.
 
Business & Economics undergraduates Jamie Hepworth, Robbie Taberner, Will Mather and Jack Stevenson are undertaking a six month review of Millennials’ expectations of retail savings providers which will see them given access to different parts of the Society’s operations, including its contact centres, branch networks and head offices.
 
Having developed the project brief alongside senior Society directors, the students will also be running focus groups with other staff members, and will produce a detailed report at the end of the project which will be used to help inform how the Society can tailor its services for younger adults.
 
Jack Stevenson says: “We chose the business clinic instead of a dissertation because it was an opportunity to work on something real that will result in action.
 
“We’re meeting with a number of people from across the Society to discuss different ideas and get more of an insight into how our project could play a part in shaping the business.”
 
Northumbria University’s Business Clinic scheme has been running for five years, and challenges students to produce solutions to business challenges that are underpinned by rigorous theory and research while also giving them the chance to get useful workplace experience.
 
Nigel Coates, Director of The Business Clinic, adds: “We are delighted to be working with Newcastle Building Society, in particular as Tom, an alumni of The Business Clinic, is managing the project.
 
“With excellent feedback from both our students and the diverse range of organisations they have worked with, we are looking forward to assisting more businesses in the years to come.”
 
Thomas Homan, Business Improvement Manager at Newcastle Strategic Solutions, who took part in the Clinic project himself when he was a student, says: “Working within live commercial environments means our students can start to develop and improve workplace skills they will need during their future careers.
 
“We’re impressed with the work that these four students have done so far and grateful for all the time and support they’re receiving from those who are helping them do it.”
 
Stuart Miller, customer director at Newcastle Building Society, adds: “Listening to customers’ opinions and providing tailored services that meet their particular needs is an essential approach for any business to take.
 
“We’ll be meeting regularly with the students over the coming months to assess how the project is progressing, give them direct feedback on any questions or ideas that come up and keep them informed of relevant developments within the business.
 
“Northumbria is taking a progressive approach to giving its students the chance to get practical work experience that will help them when they leave full time education, and we’re looking forward to reviewing the recommendations that the team will be putting forward.”

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