The UK's first current account for apprentices has been launched in Cumbria.
The Cumberland's Freedom Apprentice Account has already gained the backing of local apprentices, employers and MPs.
It was developed with apprentices from Gen2, the region’s largest training provider for apprentices.
The new account offers apprentices all that they need to manage their finances as they start work and access to a preferential savings account normally reserved for premium current account holders.
Apprentices can also use any of the Cumberland’s 34 local branches, or its Carlisle–based call centre, which is open seven days a week.
Jake Bell, 18, a customer service apprentice at Gen2, said: “Starting an apprenticeship really feels like starting a career, and essentially I am just going into work and earning a wage the same as anyone else.
“University isn’t for everyone and apprenticeships are respected as much as degrees now, so it’s great to see The Cumberland catering for us.
“I don’t think the banks have really thought about apprentices – they seem to just focus on pushing student accounts and kids accounts, both of which aren’t really suitable for me.”
Des Moore, the Cumberland’s new chief executive, said: “Cumbria has proportionately some of the highest numbers of apprentices in the UK, and when talking to local apprentices at Gen2 and in our own business, their feedback was clear: banks only seem to offer preferential accounts to people who are going to university, and basic youth accounts aren’t giving them what they need.
“We recognise how vital apprentices are for the future of the North West, so it’s only right that we provide a bank account that actually suits their needs.”
The Cumberland is the only regional building society in the country to offer a current account, and the Apprentice Freedom Account will only be available to apprentices within its operating area – Cumbria, South West Scotland, and North Lancashire.
Heidi Clements, HR manager at Gen2, said: “For young people starting out as apprentices, this is an important and exciting time of life.
“Apprentices are taking on new levels of responsibility and earning a full time wage for the first time. It is important that they are able to manage their money properly, but also easily.”
John Stevenson, Carlisle MP, added: “This is an exciting and innovative initiative.
“Apprentices are very important to the whole of the Cumbrian economy. Providing banking facilities aimed directly at apprentices is very helpful and demonstrates the support from the Cumberland for apprentices who are starting out in their careers.”
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