1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My official job title is Relationship Team Officer and this involves helping Assistant Relationship Managers (ARM's) manage the Relationship Managers (RM's) and their clients. My typical day would involve meeting the ARM's and RM's to discuss any outstanding tasks. For example, does the RM have any meeting's with clients lined up and if so, what do they need in the brief? I also pickup and respond to client calls and emails. These queries can range from a client wanting to know what their available balance is to requesting a new account be setup or a change or signatories on the mandate. The role is very engaging and so diverse, which is one of the many things I enjoy about it.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am currently studying towards the Chartered Banker Professional Banking Certificate, which is a globally recognised banking qualification. Part of working in a Bank involves handling sensitive financial information, so we need to take extra care to ensure that the information isn't released into the public domain and that it is disposed of correctly. The bank is continuously releasing new online learning exercises to ensure that all employees are working to the same high standard and maintaining a high level of professionalism.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy being an apprentice within the RBS. The work is interesting and there are always new challenges to overcome. The support that I receive from within my office, and the bank as a whole, is superb and I couldn't ask for anything more. The bank is full of experience and opportunity and providing you take advantage of this, you will have a very rewarding career. The role has met and surpassed all expectations that I had and I really feel as though the bank wants me to succeed and prosper.
4. How valued do you feel by RBS?
I feel very valued by RBS. A large majority of my work is acknowledged and I'm always receiving positive feedback, and being told what I can improve upon. I receive tremendous amounts of support and never feel as though I'm being thrown into the deep end without knowing what is expected. I've been offered great opportunities for me to develop my skills further by my line manager because I have demonstrated that I'm capable of handling additional responsibility. I've been involved in a large business development project which has been shared across, not only my business area, but other business area's. Whilst doing a placement in another business area I received positive feedback from them and from my manager upon returning.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel as though the programme is very structured, with a well developed 18 month plan. The plan has been broken down into 3 month periods, so I know what I'm supposed to be competent in and when. I have regular meetings with my apprentice assessor and receive feedback on how I'm doing with my mock exams and workbooks. I was allowed to dedicate one day per week to revise for my exam, plus the additional time that I took when the live class sessions were taking place. The tasks were delegated fairly between myself and the other ARM's and I never felt too overwhelmed.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I would have a conference call with my line manager and my apprentice assessor every 3 weeks to get an update on my progress and how they thought I was getting on. I also used to receive revision questions on a weekly basis just to ensure that I was retaining the information. Whenever I had a query, I could email my apprentice assessor and I would receive a reply within 1 working day, which is a great turnaround and meant that my learning wasn't delayed and I was able to complete all assignments on time.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The support that I received from my employer was second to none. If I ever found myself in a position where I was struggling I knew that I could approach anyone and they would be more than happy to help. There were actually a few occasions where I was encouraged to actually ask more questions. From day one, my team have always been very accommodating and very welcoming; I couldn't fault one thing. If they were unable to help me, they would be point me in the direction of someone that could and explain the situation to me so that I could handle it myself in the future.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My package far exceeded what I was expecting to receive, and for an apprenticeship, it is very generous. Fortunately I don't live too far away from the office and so my travel costs are minimum, but the Bank happily reimburses any expenses incurred on a business appointment or meeting. The bank also contributes to some of the teambuilding exercises that we did, but none of them were compulsory, so I never felt pressured into taking part if it wasn't affordable. There was an occasion when I wasn't able to get into the office due to a derailment, but because the Bank network is so large, I was able to commute to another office and work from there.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
We host a number of events all year round ranging from fraud seminars, hospitality events, networking events and team building exercises. One of the key points to being successful in the bank is building a large network. I've also attending various other networking events outside of work looking for potential new business and there are employee led schemes which you can enrol on, which are great if you want to build a larger network.
9a. Would you recommend RBS to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
As an RBS employee and apprentice, I have been presented with so many exciting opportunities and learnt a large array of new skills which can be applied in and outside of the bank. The apprenticeship scheme offers a structured career path and the levels of support are outstanding. If you have the passion and motivation to succeed then you can do incredibly well working in the Bank.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to RBS? *
Ensure that you do your research on the RBS and what their goals, purpose and values are. Incorporate these into your answers for the written application process and your telephone interview as it shows that you are willing to go that little bit further than everyone else. The competition is fierce for these apprenticeships, so ensure that you are well prepared. If you have ever done any extracurricular activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh award or been part of a sports team, make sure you use these examples as it demonstrates that you are capable of working in and leading a team. Also, be patient. I was fortunate enough to find out whether or not I had been successful pretty quickly, but I know of a few apprentices who were waiting for about 6 months. You need to bear in mind that the RBS is a huge organisation and over 7000 people apply for the apprenticeship programme. You can track your progress online, so ensure that you do this every couple of days. The final stage of the application process is a face-to-face interview and a role play, which if you're applying for a relationship support apprenticeship, is focused heavily on customer service. If you have any experience in retail or customer service, this will be invaluable. Prepare a list of questions that you want to ask them, this shows that you are taking a keen interest and that you are well prepared.
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