1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Security Analyst Daily tasks include conducting Security Analysis on projects, applications and contract clauses. As well as this I conduct internal work such as process improvement and tool management. Daily interactions include team members and other colleagues within the bank who would be considered "customers" Every day is different in terms of the applications and projects I am reviewing against our Security policies and best practice.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
SQA Diploma level 6 and 8 Level 6 was in IT & Telecoms Professional Level 8 was in Information Security Professionals Internally I have not yet achieved any certifications outside of Chartered banker. Other training I have done is Introduction to Agile. Externally I have done a number of courses through the apprentice training provider QA including: Ethical Hacking Web Development C# programming Cisco Networking CCNA 1 & 2 Installing and configuring windows 7 and 10 In all these courses I learned new skills. Throughout my time as an apprentice security analyst I have learned about what security means for a ban and how to asses applications, projects to conform with security best practices. I have also learned to review contract clause statements and their meaning to security.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have thoroughly enjoyed the work I have undertaken as an apprentice both the technical and administration work. The team I am in has gone through a number of redundancies and I had a change in manager after 9 or so months, however throughout that time my team has been very accommodating and have mentored me in an excellent way that has set me up to continue after the apprenticeship. The apprentice team in RBS however have not been the most helpful, contact is few and far between with both apprentices and line managers on what the requirements/next steps are for apprentices, this has caused moments of uncertainty and confusion.
4. How valued do you feel by RBS?
I know that my immediate manager and my senior manager have appreciated the work I am conducting with both recommending me for promotion following the apprenticeship. Security can be a somewhat thankless task as you are requiring project teams to carry out further work. I have been treated no different from a regular member of staff and no project have questioned my work as an apprentice which I appreciate. Again as an apprentice in the wider bank I do not think there is a lot of appreciation for the work we do, in some cases a few bad cases mar the rest of the apprentice groups and not enough positive stories are shared of apprentices work.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Induction was two days of generic RBS values, ethics etc. for all apprentices in that intake followed by one day with the technology apprentices which was slightly more useful. Training provided by QA was excellent, my assessor was particularly supportive in my development as he saw that I was very much keen to progress. There is no internal training processes however and it is expected of individual teams to develop a training plan for an apprentice even though they may have had only a few days to prepare. Support from the programme was few and far between and during a particularly difficult time I got very little support or direction which left me very much disenchanted with the programme outside of my direct team. Organisation of the overall programme could have been better with line managers, department heads having clearer information on the progression and outcome of the apprentice scheme My manager gave me as much time as I needed to study.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
QA have provided plenty of support throughout my apprenticeship both in and out of classes. My assessor as mentioned above gave me a lot of support in my work and was happy to give me time to discuss queries. I enjoyed my time in classes for the most part, in some occasions courses were slightly squeezed into to tight a time frame meaning that it could be easy to fall behind if you required a little more help/time to understand a problem. However when I requested to change SQA framework to be more in line with my role they accommodated me and reworked my learning plan.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have received the right amount of support from my manager, at no point was I micro managed and when I required help there were no delays in receiving that help. HR team have had very little contact with me so cannot comment on their support. Support within the bank is very well signposted for the most part. Support for the apprentice scheme is a little les clear, many communications direct you towards your line manager who has had no communication from HR/apprentice scheme. I have been mentored throughout by a member of my team who has put up with my near non stop questions and queries with absolute patience and has helped me develop from someone with 0 security knowledge to a person who carries out security assessment, I know for a fact without this person I wouldn't be where I am today.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The RBS apprentice salary is most likely the best in the country. I have managed to pay rent and then pay a mortgage on my salary. it allows me to live an active social life while keeping on top of travel costs and daily costs
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
While on my apprenticeship I have had numerous social events outside of work with my team and the wider security team. As well as this I have taken part on corporate social volunteering activities. I have also attended a number of RBS Aspire events which is an employee led network. I also am aware of a number of clubs, employee led networks and such that I could join if I wanted.
9. Would you recommend RBS to a friend?
I would encourage friends to join RBS on a technology apprenticeship as this is a growing sector in which RBS needs to grow. I would say that the training provided is excellent however the training provider has changed but I assume it is on level with QA. As well as this, they provide a salary that lets you concentrate on learning and not worry about money.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to RBS?
preparation is key for the application and interview process. Learn the RBS goals and values. Be confident as well. On boarding processes can sometime be lengthy, use this time wisely by learning as much as possible about the bank and how it works. Don't sit around waiting for work, always go out there and ask for something to do. Show willingness to try new things and learn new skills. Make it clear with your manager what you want to achieve, don't be afraid to ask to shadow another team.
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