1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I work on internal software initiatives, gathering requirements from business areas in the bank and relaying these requirements and user personas to the development teams. Throughout the development process I work with the client to ensure the solution is meeting their needs. I work in an Agile team so key meetings are daily stand ups and backlog prioritization.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have had the opportunity to attend three courses as part of the apprenticeship. The BCS international diploma in business analysis, ITIL foundations and MSP Foundation and practitioner. My employer has also given me the opportunity to attend additional courses on agile methodologies and systems thinking. Due to the opportunities at LBG I have also been able to develop skills outside of a normal BA role such as project finance and software development.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I give LBG a 10/10, I have had an amazing experience and many opportunities to learn and develop. The issue comes with the apprenticeship scheme and training provider. The scheme is often too ridged leading to additional work just to tick boxes. The BA work that I do that is hugely valuable to my employer needs to be totally reshaped due to the highly prescriptive nature of the training provider marking scheme. This along with the dis-organisation of the training provider leads to the apprenticeship scheme side of my role to be a huge bug bear and I would go as far as to say it is holding me back in terms of personal and career development.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The employer is great, I have all the support I require from their side. the training provider is unacceptable. Projects i have submitted take at a minimum 2 months to be marked. The marking is often done at the review meeting where the document is skim read and marking quality is therefore poor. This leads to sub standard projects being submitted and returned 6 moths down the line when a subject matter expert has looked at the project. The learning mentors who do the initial marking have little knowledge of the apprenticeship scheme subjects and so are in no place to mark the projects in the first place. With review meetings scheduled every two months, it feels as if the mentors either do not have the time and care for each apprentice, or they are assigned to far two many. The review meetings themselves are another 2 hour long box ticking affair, by the time this has completed there is usually only 20 mins to discuss progress on projects etc.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Support from my employer has been fantastic. I have a personal development plans and monthly one to ones with my line manager. My line manager encourages me to take on more responsibility and step out of my comfort zone. My apprenticeship mentor is also great, providing me with ample BA work and helping me to deliver true value to the business.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
As stated above, there have been many issues with the training provider and the level of support has been very poor. The learning mentor is just not suited to the role with no knowledge of the subject of the apprenticeship. marking is slow and of poor quality. Marking criteria is very dated, confusing and prescriptive whilst being vague and unclear. Work i do that is of value to the business needs to be totally reworked to fit the firebrand standard.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The BCS diploma BA qualification was very good. Delivered through a third party (metadata) the instructor was fantastic and really had a lot to give. I have heavily used what I have learned in my day job. Another course ITIL foundations was also relevant for background knowledge about how the IT areas in the back work. The MSP course was useless information for my current role. The course information was also highly dated and not very relevant to my organisation.
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.)
Loads of networking events and conference opportunities to go to. There are usually team offsite meetings every quarter which is a great opportunity to meet new people. I have also attended casual sports events. The bank also arranges hackathons which are a really awesome opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people.
9a. Would you recommend Lloyds Banking Group to a friend?
I would recommend Lloyd's to a friend as the organisation is full of opportunities to find a career you really enjoy and are interested in. Most people at Loyds are really friendly and open to help, the culture is changing in a really positive way. I would not recommend one of the apprenticeships they offer with firebrand as the training provider however.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Lloyds Banking Group?
Your attitude matters as much as the skills you have. If you work well in team and are open to leaning new things and teaching others then that is worth as much as professional certifications. If you are looking at an apprenticeship, be wary of the training provider and area of the bank the apprenticeship is in.
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