Nicholas is an Economics graduate from Brunel University, London and now works at Barclays International as a Product Development Analyst.
I think I must have applied for at least 50 different internships at all sorts of employers before landing a role. You’ve just got to keep at it, persevering no matter how tough it might feel at the time. I threw my all into the applications – even learning Spanish at one point. Which, for someone who’s profoundly deaf, is no mean feat! The thing is, it all led me to a Barclays summer internship. So for anyone going through something similar, don’t give up or settle for anything that you’re not passionate about. The right opportunity is out there for you.
Throughout the application processes, I was always open about my disability when I needed to be. Here’s a good example: if there were any group exercises involved, I made it clear that I’d need to be in a quiet room or sit close to the front so I could lip read. Again, if anyone’s in a similar position, I think it’s really important that you properly understand the process you’re about to start and whether you might need any support. Don’t stay quiet and get caught out by something you weren’t expecting.
I’m now a graduate in product development within the payments business, which basically means I’m involved in improving a range of existing client products while developing completely new products too. I get to collaborate with some amazing people all around Barclays, and love being part of such a fast-paced world.
When it comes to the practicalities of doing my role, and doing it well, there’s a work adjustment team here who help put what I need in place. For any sizeable meetings, I either use a sign language interpreter or a palantypist. And instead of phone calls, I ask colleagues to video call me, which means I can lip read. I also applied for Access to Work – a government grant for disabled workers – and that essentially allows me to use the palantypists or sign language interpreters whenever I need to.
Why Barclays? For me, it’s all about the culture. Early on, I realised just how friendly and accessible they are. Even relatively simple touches like adding subtitles to their videos made a really positive impression – it’s a wonderful thing to see. Honestly, all the things that made them stand out to me from the start have been reaffirmed time and time again.