1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
File Transfer Projects support and analyst. Supporting bank projects in the installation, support, design, decommissioning of file transfer connections principally supporting the deployment of IBM Connect:Direct software. Connect:Direct provides a more secure and reliable connection to cross-platform assets than ftp and is the primary file transfer software used to connect mainframes to other platform servers.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I learned a lot about unix, z/OS, Connect:Direct and governance database software (Service Now) all of which i was unfamiliar with prior to being engaged at RBS. I have developed my extant understanding of operating systems, networks and web services. I have broadened my communication, time-management, support and management skills base.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme is enjoyable some of the time. Most of the time it seems to be situation of ticking boxes and proving basic competence. Proving extant abilities such as basic writing and speaking skills seemed superfluous and assembling evidence from a secure workplace was difficult and occasionally impossible. Course work tended to arrive in lumps and seems to have little or no logic to the order in which it was submitted.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The structure of the programme is loose to non-existent. The tools on the whole worked and were fine but the order in which things were done in terms of the units had no apparent logic and seemed to be designed around the availability of the providers. The standing support for apprentices in my department was absent and I was even asked to create learning materials.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The employer was supportive in terms of sparring time and responsive to a tranche of criticisms that emerged on the change of supplier. Changing supplier was distinctly un-supportive and should have been deferred until the completion of the full course. RBS supplied a lot of guidance at the beginning of the course on conduct and organisational principles.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The training provider supplied decent tools in the form a website and courses that were reasonably well taught. The skills coaches and assessors were very overstretched, not particularly familiar with the detail of the course materials and seemed to be there to fulfil an admin role. Quite a few of them left during the second year and this seemed to be because of some disconnect in expectations and delivery from the training provider.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The training provider has supplied a basic grasp of technology fundamentals which will serve in some capacity in the future. The time and effort required to fulfil the requirements of the course is not however commensurate with the knowledge and skills delivered. There are far more efficient and effective ways to learn most of what was covered.
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 seem to be quite a few but i lack the time to engage in these and have not as a consequence compiled a list or even a basic grasp on what is available. RBS is a very large organisation and there are enough enthused employees to create and manage quite a range of activities.
9a. Would you recommend RBS to a friend?
RBS's apprenticeship proposition is for all its faults a very fair offer of paid for education on the job. It provides the apprentice with a solid grounding of a technology based discipline while paying a wage that is manageable. The opportunities at RBS are vast and the working environment is generally positive and pleasant.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to RBS?
I would suggest that while RBS is a very large organisation that it's apprenticeship scheme is a work in progress and that an interested apprentice needs to think about what it is they want to do within the organisation before they join. I would advise applicants to get through the coursework as quickly as possible so they can concentrate on their roles.
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