The five students, all from schools near GoCompare’s headquarters in Newport, south Wales, passed numerous assessments throughout the summer to earn a place on the four-and-a-half-year programme.

The sponsored degree programme, which is an important part of GoCompare’s on-going, multi-million pound investment in its GoFurther Academy, will see each student work towards a BSc in Digital and Technology Solutions while also being employed at GoCompare. With tuition fees, an annual salary and benefits package, and accommodation and travel paid for by GoCompare, each student will receive over £100,000 worth of investment.

The programme will offer:

  • A competitive salary and benefits package
  • No student fee debt
  • Over four years’ work experience at a nationally-recognised technology brand
  • A BSc honours degree from Aston University, the UK’s first institution to offer degree apprenticeships

Lee Griffin, president and founder of GoCompare, said:

“As a technology company, we rely on people with a diverse range of talents to come up with the ideas that will keep us at the forefront of innovation. So, we developed the GoFurther Academy as a clear statement of intent – it reflects our commitment to investing in the development and retention of the very best talent that will benefit our customers, our businesses and the growing tech community of south Wales.

“The degree apprenticeship programme, which we are delivering with Aston University, is the pinnacle of this. We have spent time talking to schools in our local communities and have identified some of the most promising young people who we want to support through university to give them the best possible start in meaningful and in-demand careers, and without the associated debt.

“Our goal is to develop homegrown expertise by giving people the chance to gain a degree and valuable, relevant work experience. We want to bridge the gap between education and the workplace, making sure that people develop the skills they need for work alongside a solid foundation in theory that will enable the big thinking we need as a business.  I couldn’t be happier with the first intake of students, and I’m looking forward to how seeing how they progress through the programme.”

To earn a place on GoCompare’s degree-apprenticeship programme, candidates had to meet certain merit-based eligibility criteria, pass Aston University’s psychometric testing, and complete an assessment centre held at GoCompare’s headquarters where they took part in group tasks and interviews.

The successful candidates are:

  • Vishal Patel, Cardiff and Vale College
  • Hayley Simpson, Saint David’s Catholic College
  • Daniel Lloyd Davies, Cardiff and Vale College
  • Rifath Ahmed, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
  • Matthew Binnie, Monmouth Comprehensive School

The students will undertake an initial seven-week, full-time boot camp with Aston University before stating an apprenticeship in GoCompare’s industry-leading tech team, continuing their studies through a mixture of distance and classroom learning.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Higson, Aston University, said:

“GoCompare has demonstrated it is a technology business with a focus on its people, including those in its hometown of Newport. As a University we pride ourselves on widening participation, so we are delighted to be partnering with GoCompare to help deliver a significant kick-start to the careers of local Newport talent.

“At Aston we have had over 100 years’ experience of forging links between learners, communities and businesses to ensure the best outcomes for all involved. A significant part of this is the degree apprenticeship, which we pioneered in the UK in 2015."

In addition to the pilot scheme with Aston University, the GoFurther Academy will also explore other opportunities with universities and colleges in South Wales and the rest of the UK, to identify skills gaps in tech and explore different initiatives in 2019 to create centres of excellence within the GoCompare Group.

For more information on the GoFurther Academy, visit www.gocompare.com/gofurther.

If you are a school, college or university interested in the scheme, please contact Jon Williams, talent management business partner, at jon.williams@gocompare.com for more details.