1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I currently work as a Product Analyst in User Access. My team are responsible for running projects which help to identify how different process across the areas we control can be simplified. My daily tasks can vary a lot depending on the projects going on at the time. Since joining the team in July, I have been involved in various projects where I have used a high amount of spreadsheet work to help analyse and process. Some days I could be doing one thing, other days I could be doing something completely different. The role I am in is a managerial role, not a clerical one, so there is a high focus on project management. My role requires good communication with teams not only within my physical area but also over the phone with teams from other areas from across the country. Therefore, I am involved in a number of audios every week, which has helped build my confidence with presenting and building relationships with new people. Currently, I am in the process of heading my own project where we are assisting other teams across different business areas with databases we can create to simplify the way the areas manage their users' access to their required systems for their roles. I am also responsible for reviewing different processes and identifying ways of simplifying them. I am also a constant source of support for my manager in the work she does as well as senior management.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have improved my computer skills massively since joining User Access. I am constantly using Microsoft Excel for different functions, which is helping to expand my knowledge and experience of the software. My colleagues are highly skilled in the use of spreadsheet software, which is also helping to develop my skills. I have also improved my presentational and communicational skills as I have had the chance to learn new ways of presenting information to certain people. My role is flexible with what I need to develop these skills, which allows me time with my manager to constantly practice these and learn more about presenting. I have also improved my time management. Since my role is constantly involving different tasks every day, I have learned how to manage my time effectively to ensure all tasks are completed to the best of my ability. As part of apprenticeship, I am working towards gaining a level 3 qualification in Business Administration. This has required me to complete exams and assignments towards the qualification, which are all focused on different topics which have improved my knowledge.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Currently, I am enjoying the importance of my role and how challenging it is. The role offers new challenges every day which constantly develop my skills. I have learned a lot about project management and analytical work on computers, which will be great to have on my CV. The people I work with are all very friendly, approachable and helpful. They are also all very skilled in experienced in their jobs, which is good for me to watch and learn from. The company culture is very friendly and open. Everyone is busy with their own work, but always available to talk to about anything. There is a great team ethic in the company which I have benefitted from. My current role has exceeded my expectations. It is a very challenging role which has been made understandable by the people I work with.
4. How valued do you feel by RBS?
I feel very valued by my manager who gives me consistently positive feedback for my work. My manager understands how important the apprenticeship work is and is always offering her support where it is needed. I have regular catch up and 1-2-1 meetings with her to discuss any challenges and successes I have experienced, which helps to make me feel more confident about my role. I have been recognised whilst working on a bank-wide initiative with a manager from another team within my physical area (his team links into ours but at a lower level). Whilst working on this initiative, the manager recognised my efforts by raising a "Living Our Values" reward for me. As an apprentice, I feel protected by RBS as well. When I started the apprenticeship last year in April, I was initially placed into a team called Customer Due Diligence along with two other apprentices. Unfortunately, announcements were made in May that the team was to be closed down and offshored to India in the coming months. This placed a huge amount of worry on myself and the two other apprentices in the team. However, after two months, RBS found new teams for us, which is where I find myself now. As an apprentice, you are looked after by RBS, regardless of any negative situations you find yourself in within your role.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme began with a two day induction in London, where you are able to meet apprentices who are also new to the scheme from across the country. You are given the required training and support for you to work in your role effectively. Your employers understand that you are young and new to the bank and provide the necessary resources for you to fully understand what is expected from you in your role. The apprenticeship programme itself, which is run by BPP, could be much more organised. There have been times where the VLE has been faulty, exam times have been changed with very short notice and different people provide different advice on the same queries. Overall, RBS is very well organised, judging by my experience. Everyone has targets to meet, which helps the bank to achieve its overall aims.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I have monthly reviews with my Apprenticeship assessor where we are able to discuss any issues I have encountered and successes I have experienced each month. We have reviews of what skills I have improved on and discussions about certain topics about the workplace. I don't really receive training from my assessor, the training comes mainly from the revision resources for each Apprenticeship module. Every module, whether it is an exam, assignment or project, is supported with course notes, PowerPoint packs, online classes and webinars which all offer more information and useful advice on how to pass each module. Any queries we have as Apprentices are dealt with either by contacting BPP's support email or your assessor.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
At RBS, you have the opportunity to constantly develop any skills you require. There are internal learning resources you can register for which provide education on various topics. There are monthly career days which offer support on CV writing, interviews, online presence and many more. My manager provides excellent support for me. Her skills and knowledge in her role translate well which have helped develop my own skills. She is approachable and constantly looking at ways of improving my experience with RBS. There is a regular support phone line for you to contact for any technical issues, which is always dealt with efficiently.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary is very healthy for my age. I am able to cover all my bills, which include car insurance, house keeping, phone costs, gym membership and more. I am always able to save a healthy amount of money each month and still left with sufficient amount of money to enjoy my personal and social life. I think the money is really good for me to start saving more for my future as well.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are events that RBS run such as charity and fundraising events which you can get involved in. As an Apprentice, you can join a scheme called the Entrepreneurial Development Academy (EDA), which helps to further your experience and understanding with entrepreneurial mind-sets and activities such as pitching. You can also join the Young Bankers' Association (YBA), where you can meet up with other young employees across the bank and participate in social events.
9a. Would you recommend RBS to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
RBS can offer a fantastic opportunity for anyone who lacks experience in an office environment. Your skills will be developed and improved in many ways and you will be challenged, which is all positive for you and provide many benefits for your future employment opportunities. The salary is excellent for my age. At RBS, you feel like a valued permanent member of the bank, not an Apprentice (regarding you commit to the programme and are motivated to succeed).
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to RBS? *
The application process can take 3-4 months which involves online tests of your personality and skills. After passing the tests, you will face a phone interview and then a face-to-face interview. The advice I would give is to do your research on RBS. Make sure you fully understand the bank's four core values and are able to provide examples of where you have met these before. I would also advise you to only apply for the apprenticeship if you are willing to work hard and are not afraid to face challenges. If you have a positive attitude to the apprenticeship, you will receive good support from the bank to help you succeed.
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