Recent Dilworth Alumni start Banking Careers thanks to Westpac

Westpac CEO David McLean developed an idea in late 2018 around the opportunity to bring high school graduates to Westpac to start to grow the bank’s talent. His ambition was to attract, hire and retain high calibre talent to become leaders, innovators and contributors, even if they didn’t choose to attend university straight after their schooling.

After sharing this vision with his staff, the Westpac High School Graduate programme was established, with the first cohort of recent school leavers starting their banking careers in 2020. The programme has a number of key objectives which all demonstrate Westpac’s commitment to diversity including supporting the development of school leavers to careers in banking and attracting and accessing exceptional student talent that is currently underutilised in a candidate short market.

At the end of last year, a number of Dilworth students from the class of 2019 went along to the Westpac Highschool Graduate Day to find out more about the programme. This gave the students the opportunity to get to know Westpac and get a glimpse of life at a corporate organisation. All students went through a personality profiling session where they got to learn a bit more about themselves and each other. They learnt about Westpac’s values through the use of augmented reality and got to meet and interview some of the current staff at Westpac. Senior Manager – Talent Acquisition at Westpac, Clare Montgomery said “the day was about giving students choices. Giving them the opportunity to see themselves in a bank, and somewhere they perhaps hadn’t naturally thought of working or developing their careers.”


The next step was for interested students to submit an application. If accepted, they would be given a full time contract to work at the Westpac contact centre. They gain NZQA qualifications while on the job and graduate after 6 weeks training to be able to help Westpac customers through their Phone Assist team. The contact centre is the talent incubator for the organisation. The idea is that the bank hopes to grow these individuals within the business and help them upskill including potentially paying for any relevant study. They can then progress to different departments of interest in the future as they grow their skillset and knowledge of banking.

Earlier this year, nine Dilworth school leavers (class of 2019) were formally offered contracts. Seven of these students decided to accept and are now in full-time employment. Having recently started at Westpac, Tiare Murray-Paki said “it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. After a day at Westpac in December, I knew this was what I wanted to do.” For Gian Aumua, it was the culture at Westpac that struck when visited for the first time which led to his decision to apply and then accept the role. “People tend to think banks are all about money and ask, ‘why would you want to work there?’ But when we got here, the people were so nice. And now we get to help people through our role Westpac” said Gian.


April 14, 2020