1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I'm working in a Software and Web Development role, which includes backend and frontend services. As I will be studying various programmes such as Java, HTML, and CSS, these will all come in handy when designing and creating websites for my company (for both ends). At the start of the Apprenticeship, things are a bit unclear and there isn't much work for the Apprentice to do, however, as the months go on and training is attended, you find that there are things you can now get involved in. On a day-to-day basis, there is a lot of Java programming I get done with one other team member. We work backend, trying to focus on what's behind a website rather than what you see.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
In terms of new skills, I've picked up public speaking, confidence and networking skills. There are a load of opportunities that are given to Apprentices that they should do everything to take part in. I've done talks in schools on behalf of my company, speaking about why they should take the Apprenticeship route and why they should pick RBS to work with. Having done some assemblies in sixth form, this is something I enjoyed and was able to boost on those skills greatly. Confidence and networking link together. In order to make good contacts, it is important for an Apprentice to talk to the people around them, talk to people at events they may attend, etc. This helps build persona and your contacts list on your phone. It's also the perfect way to discover other parts of the bank.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
There are times, for an Apprentice, when there is no work to do within your team because they are unaware of how skillful you are. But there is always a way to find something to do, whether that's coursework, your own programming, or getting involved in various events, etc. I've never been interested in Technology but working at RBS is making it worthwhile. I'm able to work in a fresh and funky environment, and you find you're never under too much stress with all the help you can get around you.
4. How valued do you feel by RBS?
RBS do everything to make their employees feel comfortable. There are people from different backgrounds, religions, races, etc. It's an all in all diverse company and I find it's been really easy for me to fit in, despite being the only visible woman in the building (observing the headscarf). At first, I found it daunting but now it makes me feel unique and people are more interested in your talents than what's on your head or how you're dressed. Everyone is friendly and outgoing, which makes networking a whole lot easier.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
In terms of organisation for training, the programme is a little poor. I'm not sure if it's because I've been given a lazy assessor or because the training provider are lazy, but someone's being lazy. It's difficult to get information from them with regards to dates and details. Replies are delayed, and normally unclear. Sometimes even folders, coursework are not checked properly. The Apprentice has to make sure that they put in maximum effort to avoid any hassle.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
When help is needed, the training provider is just an email away. Unfortunately the right emails were given after 4 months of the Apprenticeship. In terms of help with coursework, the assessor needs to be contacted for this, and my assessor either delays the reply or gives irrelevant feedback; feedback that is unclear and hasty
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Employer support is essential and given when asked at RBS. I've found that whenever I've had truble with understanding something or don't necessarily know what's going on, I can just ask and it's made clear with good explanations.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Being an Asian woman, living at home with my parents, most of the living costs are made by my parents. For example, I don't drive so I'm not having to pay for car insurance, etc. The salary provided is much more than expected, and enough for monthly personal costs.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are plenty of opportunities to those who search for them. I'm a great believer in walking to your opportunities rather than waiting for them to knock at your door. I've had plenty of chances to do things I love, public speaking, going to schools to talk about apprenticeships, and I hope to continue doing this, as well as being a part of my team in the office.
9a. Would you recommend RBS to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
With a friendly atmosphere, and a chance to show people who you really are, I don't see why anyone would not recommend this company to someone else, and I'm not just saying that because I work here!
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to RBS? *
At first, it may seem a little hectic and daunting, whether you're joining after leaving school or joining after quitting university, but you get used to it after the first few months. Because everyone is twice your age, you feel like you won't be able to fit in, but you come to realise that the young is still alive in the old!
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