1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Working within an Infrastructure Team. Consisted of a large amount of coding, technical writing and stakeholder management. Overall I loved the role I was put into, but there is no input from the learner as to which role they would like to go into. You are essentially dumped into whatever team they feel like, this may be determined on other factors such as skills discussed at interview, but this is never made clear to us.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
As part of my apprenticeship, No, I did not learn any new skills. As part of On-the-job Training, yes I learnt a huge amount of new skills. The on-the-job training given by RBS was excellent, and my team were hugely helpful in setting me up for success. But the apprenticeship was always treated as an afterthought, not a priority.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I do not enjoy my Apprenticeship programme at all. The modules provided by BPP are terrible. There is incredibly limited opportunities for Practical work. It is all essays and "Evidence" - Be prepared to take multiple screenshots of pointless tasks, and answer the same question multiple times over. The actual work of the apprenticeship feels more like a box ticking exercise than actually giving us useful skills to use. There is almost no input from learners on what modules they would like to work on, and no thought around what teams people work in to tailor modules/work to them.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
There is no structure. There is a VLE provided by BPP, and we were supposed to have Assessors managing us day-to-day. Our assessor quit over a year ago and was only replaced a month or two ago. Little to no day to day contact with BPP. Terrible service from them. We are supposed to have phonecalls with our assessor once every 4 weeks to discuss progress etc. This happened regularly throughout the Level 6 Apprenticeship, but never happened through the Level 8. Out 13 week face to face meetings were conducted by a different person each time, and were purely conducted so BPP could receive their funding from Skills Development Scotland.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My team in the bank is brilliant at supporting me to complete my Apprenticeship. They do not hesitate to give me any time that I might need to complete work, and are keen for me to complete it as soon as possible, but the Apprenticeship is very much an afterthought, or a nuisance that needs to be completed as soon as possible.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
In the first year of my apprenticeship, there was a great deal of support received from our Assessor. However, he has since left BPP and was not replaced for nearly a year afterwards, meaning that throughout the Level 8 that we completed, there was no support whatsoever for months. In fact the start of our Level 8 was delayed for about 4 months, leaving us less than 6 months to complete a full years course. No support from BPP at all until towards the end of the Apprenticeship for those who would not complete in time.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My qualification does not give me any transferable skills to use in my day to day role whatsoever. The modules that we completed were not in any way tailored to the work we complete. Other than 2 additional modules that we completed towards the end of the 2 year apprenticeship.
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 huge amounts of extra-curricular activities to get involved in, whether it's football, going to the gym, coding clubs, networking events, dinners etc. There is always some event that you can attend in the RBS Campus.
9a. Would you recommend RBS to a friend?
RBS on the whole are a great employer to work for, and have been very good to me throughout the apprenticeship. They offer flexible working, but are reluctant to give this to Apprentices depending upon what team you are working in. You may find resistance to this, but there is no specific policy which prohibits this.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to RBS?
I would caution people that it might not be for everyone, and also caution people that the process that exists for you to roll off your apprenticeship programme into a full time roll is terrible. This is not explained to you during your interview, and is in fact directly contradictory to what was explained to me at Interview. Once your two years is up, you continue in the team you were in, on the same salary as before. You are also NOT allowed to apply for other roles during your 2 year apprenticeship, even if your Line Manager is supportive of this, it will be blocked at HR Level, despite this, again, not being explained to you at Interview. You will also finish at Clerical (Bottom rung) level, and will remain at that after completion, despite what level your team operates at. So be prepared to either look elsewhere at the end of the apprenticeship, or accept the low wages for as long as they drag their heels out for.
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