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Career switchers pivot from an existing career into a technology role, and since 2020 Code First Girls has seen their community of career switchers grow by 124%. In 2021, NatWest became Code First Girls’ first partner to hire career switchers. Since our partnership began, NatWest has increased its program by 10X. To date, they have upskilled over 6000 women in tech skills, including displaced Ukrainian refugee women, and hired 130 women career switchers into full-time Software & Data Engineer roles.

By building a guaranteed pipeline of diverse talent, NatWest has saved on talent acquisition costs, seen improved engineering productivity and achieved ~95% retention rates over 2.5 years.


career switchers hired


retention over 2.5 years


program expansion

The Problem

A shortage of skilled and diverse tech talentz

NatWest needed help finding skilled tech talent from diverse and non-STEM backgrounds. They needed a scalable solution to upskill and hire across multiple locations with the scope of future expansion into different departments and global offices. 

The Solution

1. Career switchers bring ambition and soft skills

NatWest saw the business potential in hiring women with previous career experience, who bring a range of soft skills and experiences to their technology teams. CFG career switchers come from teaching, nursing, accounting, law, and many other professions. NatWest even broadened its definition of career switcher to include part-time workers, making their cohorts even more inclusive. 

2. Build a scalable talent pipeline

NatWest used Code First Girls’ location-specific talent pools to upskill candidates in key hiring locations. They began in London and Edinburgh, but have since expanded the program across the UK, growing their partnership by ten times. The programme’s flexibility allows NatWest to scale up as new business needs emerge. For example, in 2023, NatWest sponsored displaced Ukrainian women through the CFGdegree program.

3. Upskill women with a comprehensive tech curriculum

NatWest chose to upskill women in technical skills such as full-stack and software engineering. They used our training model to hire women into Software & Data Engineer roles across core tech divisions such as NatWest Digital X, Enterprise Engineering, Networks & Infrastructure, and FinCrime. 100% of candidates passed their final technical assessment, and 96% passed with a distinction or merit. 

The Results

We spoke with Gemma McNair, Senior Director, Head of NatWest Digital X Workforce Transformation, to hear more about the results of hiring women with Code First Girls. 

How did Code First Girls help you upskill and hire diverse tech talent?

Early-stage investment in diverse talent pipelines with partners like Code First Girls is helping us to build our workforce and save on talent acquisition costs. We’ve educated and hired women coders from diverse backgrounds, including career switchers, into multiple locations across the UK including London, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Bristol.

How did Code First Girls help close the digital skills gap in your tech team?

NatWest has seen notable retention rates from CFG graduates staying in employment across various business and specialist teams including Retail Banking, Financial Crime and Technology. Our entry-level talent from Code First Girls are now working towards promotions, and we are also sponsoring women in mid-level roles on a CFG accelerator programme to promote further retention and career progression.

What success stands out the most from working with Code First Girls?

We have seen improved engineering productivity, with our Code First Girls graduates being twice as productive in their first year compared to the internal reskilling programmes we currently have underway. This is due to the excellent curriculum and training approach Code First Girls provide.

Meet The NatWest Graduates

Why choose Code First Girls

Companies around the world trust Code First Girls to:

  • Secure a scalable pipeline of tech talent with diverse experiences by upskilling career switchers.
  • Elevate office locations into thriving tech hubs through our education and employment initiatives.
  • Offer a comprehensive curriculum that equips women with the most in-demand technical skills across the world. 
  • Provide high-quality training to women in tech – 94% of alumni would recommend the Code First Girls program to others.

Why not find out for yourself? Speak to our experts here. 👇