1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role is to help data science lead well informed data driven decisions in the bank, focusing on finding insights in data to help our customers and stakeholders prosper. This involves cleaning and filtering data, then analysis this data, presenting our findings to stakeholders and creating code to automate manual processes.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt how to programme and code using different languages, mainly Pyton and SQL. I have developed my ability to communicate effectively with different audiences. I am developing my understanding of mathematical concepts. In addition I have learnt about the banking industry. And I believe my confidence has grown. My public speaking has also improved since I began working at Santander.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Before the lock down I was enjoying the experience, and specifically knowing we had the opportunity to rotate to new teams withing the bank every six months, meaning I could learn about different departments and the processes they use. Since the lock down I have been limited to focusing on my education as we had to give our laptops to more critical teams. This has led to a lack of communication from my team.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My programme has been both structured and unstructed. It is unorganised because our training providers have only been assigned up until the end of this year. And we have not yet been informed of our following university or how long our courses will last. On the application it stated this programmes duration would be 3 years. Since joining it has been said that this would last between 4 to 5 years. The curriculum has improved over time, as we are communicating more with our training provider to ensure we are fully equipped to do our work.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
In these unprecedented times, the company has a whole has undergone many changes to operations and contingency plans, therefore it is not surprising that for the first month of this pandemic, there was little support from HR. My Apprentice manager has kept in touch, and indeed so has my Mentor, a fellow apprentice finishing her COURSE. Both are helping my develop my professional and personal skills. So to conclude, there is a mixture between different areas of my employer, some are super supportive, other have not tried to keep in touch.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
Recently we have had classes and virtual sessions every few weeks, which makes me feel better supported, and I am happy with the pace. There are elements that concern me regarding our end point assessment whish determines if we pass the qualification, mainly because we have had little help preparing for this interview and how to structure all of our evidence. There is an inclusive community hub for all apprentices to access, so we can partake in virtual events such as learning a new skill or doing a pub quiz. My teacher has a slack channel that is always available.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
In the first 4 months, I felt that my training provider offered courses at a slower pace, meaning I was self-learning the mayority of the time. But recently they have picked up the pace and content of what they teach us. In regards to performing better in my role, I believe the knowledge they ar eproviding will help me add value to my team in the future.
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 a few communities and networks you can join, such as mental wellbeing, data science, social mobility, military... These groups offer occasional meetings and events to see panelist speak and also offer helpful online resources and blogs to look at. Plus, you can always contact the co founders of the group for more contact, events or webinars.
9a. Would you recommend Santander to a friend?
Mainly because they have a healthy and safe environment that I feel helps people to prosper. One element that sticks out for me is the lack of barriers, you are not limited to the role or ambition you have. You can talk and learn from anyone in the business, and everyone helps everyone to do better.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Santander?
My main advice would be to really consider your options, and make sure you chose a role that is right for you, as you will be dedicating at least a few years to it. Do your research, and most importantly be passionate about why you want to work, whether it be in financial crime, data science or accounting, try and truly think about why that area is right for you.