1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
The role was to provide first line support to the financial organisation of over 1000 employees being the first point of contact for all IT related issues and queries. Role included first line fixes of hardware and software issues as well as account creations and modifications on complex systems and a range of in house systems.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt a lot of new skills ranging from personal to professional skills. I have become a lot more confident talking to my colleagues, employees from around the business and talking to third party companies. I have gathered good time keeping skills from my level 3 qualification making sure I complete everything on time and I have been organised with all my coursework.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoyed my program a lot in terms of the people I worked with, they were amazing and helped me a lot. With being one of the first apprentices the company had, there were a lot of teething issues but overall I successfully passed and enjoyed the whole program. The company culture is really good in terms of values, beliefs and behaviors.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Being one of the first apprentices of the company, there were many teething issues as it was new to everyone. My program with my training provider was structured and organised 99% of the time. I had 5 courses through the first 7-8 months and the end of each course was an exam. Throughout this I had coursework to complete and the support I had from my skills coach was consistent. I had time during work hours to complete the coursework I had, although I didn't receive much time at the start which I felt was completely necessary and was unable to complete this at home.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Being one of the first apprentices of the company, there were many teething issues as it was new to everyone. I believe I should have received more support and a better mentor system should of been in place throughout my whole level 3 apprenticeship as this did not really exist.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
My program with my training provider was structured and organised 99% of the time. I received regular support and communication from the skills coach that was allocated to me. They were very helpful and encouraging throughout my courses/exams and my coursework. I felt that the support and communication lacked nearer to the end of my course when I was in completion months which included a week long project and an end point assessment.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My courses at college were totally relevant to what I could have learnt at work but in the first few months I was with a team that I believe I was with for too long and this made me struggle to put into practice what I had learnt at college. I definitely felt that I learnt more about my role and the industry compared to when I first started even though it was a challenge and I did struggle.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
There are plenty of things to get involved in. We have an association for all staff members to join when they first start, this includes a £2 contribution every month. It involves a lot of social events outside of work including quiz nights, Christmas party's and a lot of cheaper events like concerts and days out. Every member of the Society is allowed 2 volunteering days a year and they really push that everyone takes these. It can range from beach cleans, helping at the food bank and dog/cat shelter. It is very rewarding, especially that the Society is really involved with the community.
9a. Would you recommend Newcastle Building Society to a friend?
It is such a great opportunity for anyone interested. Developing real skills in an business environment, working towards a qualification and earning a 'Real Living Wage'. It's not always all about university which is what I got pushed to do when I was leaving school. Its a great place to work and everyone is supported to realise their potential.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Newcastle Building Society?
Research the company and learn the values, understand the behaviors and what we do. Prepare for the assessment center, be yourself and get involved as much as you can throughout the application process, the interviews and the assessment days. The experience and opportunities are amazing if you really take everything on board and try your best.