1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My day to day role has changed dramatically since I originally started. I began as a developer, coding on the IBM mainframe with a mentor teaching me each step. I then moved into an analytical role and became the defect managed for a high profile project. I have now moved into the project management space and am learning the techniques and different tips for project management. My main responsibilities at the moment are managing an infrastructure upgrade project and managing my key stakeholders.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have gained the official NVQ level 3 qualification and I am now scheduled to attend an APMP course (project management course) in June. This is an industry recognised qualification and will be really valuable for my career. I think the soft skills that are subconsciously developed whilst in the work place are the most important things I've learnt though. For example, does school teach you how to write an email? Or how to present yourself to another team? No, does university teach you these things? No. The hands on experience that I've had combined with the official qualifications have been invaluable for my career.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
To begin with my programme was all new to me. I am the youngest person in my team by 20 years! However I have really settled in now and as cliché as it sounds, it is like a big family. Everyone in the team has great relationships with one another, and because of this is allows us to work efficiently in a great atmosphere. The company culture is great and you're really encouraged to be who you want to be and achieve your goals. The programme was totally different to my expectations but it was 100% for the better.
4. How valued do you feel by Lloyds Banking Group?
When you first start it's always difficult to feel valued, purely because you're new to everything and anything you do has to be supervised. However everyone is understanding of this and once you build your brand people give you regular feedback on how well you do and things to improve on. This is common practice in Lloyds and helps you to develop. I was heavily involved with shaping the apprenticeship framework, and because of this I was given the opportunity to go to London and meet Nick Clegg, the old deputy PM. This was a great experience for me and cemented the fact that you're valued as an individual.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Very structured. On my first day I was introduced to the whole team, got a tour of the building and given a role description. I met my assessor shortly after and he explained how the formal side of the programme works. We made a robust plan to follow through the apprenticeship period. I have monthly 121's with my line manager which will continue throughout my career here at Lloyds. We have recently had a big reshuffle in the department so the team structure is still being finalised.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I have constant email, text and phone access to my assessor should I need it. We review everything that is outstanding at the end of each session and formulate a plan for next time. I don't have any problems but any advice that I need my assessor is always more than happy to give. I loved working with my assessor, it gave me a real sense of value if my project work dropped.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My Manager and I have a monthly 1-2-1 session in which we discuss progress to date, work in the pipeline and any problems I might have. In these sessions I can request training and discuss anything I want. I don't have much dealing with HR, but we have an online portal where we can easily view our payslips, make any amendments etc. I have a life mentor who I meet for half an hour with once a week to discuss any problems I have that are not work related but could affect my performance. We also have an independent 24/7 support line which we can call free & anonymously anytime for any advice. People seem very keen to help me develop here and I can't wait to see what the future holds.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Lloyds offer a very competitive salary. Compared to the minimum apprenticeship wage I think it's great. It allows me to cover my mortgage, travel and social costs, whilst allowing me to save money each month. I never feel stressed about money.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
We have done the occasional activities outside of work, but with a team who all have children etc, it is difficult to get everyone together. There are a number of external events held outside of work, living in Gloucestershire there are lots of these, however I tend not to get involved in many as I travel a lot. I am happy outside of work, when I am not working I'm usually decorating my flat or at the gym.
9a. Would you recommend Lloyds Banking Group to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Lloyds offers everything you want with a career. A guaranteed job at the end of the apprenticeship, a competitive salary that you can live comfortably on. All this whilst you're getting free training in transferable skills that can be used in many different industries. I can't fault Lloyds at all and am looking forward to a long and prosperous career here.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Lloyds Banking Group? *
I think be yourself and show you can work in a team is a key piece of advice. When working for a huge company you can't get things done purely by yourself. There will always be something that someone else knows that you need to know, or a deliverable that you're not quite sure on. Other people are there to help and don't be afraid to ask. Also take any opportunity that is presented to you, saying yes to something shows that you are versatile and willing to have a go at anything.
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