1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role is on a graduate programme for the Wealth and Personal Banking area of HSBC UK. This has involved 4 x 6 month placements, under the categories of: Customer, Leadership, Risk, and Strategy. For my leadership placement, which was the most relevant to my apprenticeship, I managed a team of 5 customer service representatives who took customer calls in the Credit Solutions department. This involved supporting customers in financial difficulty and identify options to ensure they were able to manage repayments of any debt they owed to the bank.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I had not managed a team of people before, so I gained a lot of leadership skills, such as people management, motivation, communication, people development, and giving feedback. I also gained more technical skills, as I was required to understand the role of the team I managed so that I could support them as required and carry out any checks on work that were required as a mandatory aspect of the role due to regulation.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
During my leadership placement, the programme supported me in gaining my leadership skills that I was developing. I enjoyed speaking with my talent coach to discuss how I was developing these skills. The team I worked in was really supportive in my development, and I was able to get a lot out of the placement, although to fully develop these skills and be comfortable in my role, I probably would have benefited for a longer time in my role than 6 months.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
From my company's side, the programme has been very structured, as mentioned previously with 4 6 month placements. At the start of my leadership placement, I was given a 2 week induction to the programmes used within the team, and was then given a month of shadowing another team manager in the department so that I could understand the tasks required for the role. For the Apprenticeship we were given regular development days, however the topics of these didn't always align well with the placements that I was completing. Additionally, as part of the programme I was required to gather a portfolio of evidence, however I wasn't given the requirements of this until after I'd finished my leadership placement, which meant I was unable to gain all of the aspects required.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I gained little to no support from my employer, as I was expected to complete the Apprenticeship independently, with support from my Talent Coach at Kaplan. My employer allowed me to take study days out of the office for the Kaplan development days, and I was empowered to spend time completing my apprenticeship during the working day if I could fit this around my role and responsibilities within my placement. Any issues were directed towards Kaplan.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I had an assigned Talent Coach at Kaplan with whom I had regularly conversations with to ensure I was completing my assignments as needed, and to provide support with these. My talent coach was also available by email to answer simpler queries. Finally, there was an online platform served by Kaplan that contained many resources that allowed me to self serve and supported my 'on the job' learning, assignments, and conversations with with my Talent Coach.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My qualification supported with my leadership role by allowing me to gain skills around people management, performance management, people development, and more, which then allowed me to implement these in my team. I definitely understand the role of people manager more now as a result of the qualification, although I don't feel like I understand the financial services industry any better, as this was not specifically focused on at any point in the qualification
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.)
Volunteering is very encouraged at my work, and we're allocated two paid volunteer days per year. As part of this, I've taken part in a beach clear up, a charity boat race on the river Thames, and a canal clean. Additionally, there are a number of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) which allow me to be involved in groups that I'm interested in, and engage with groups that I haven't had the opportunity to learn about before.
9a. Would you recommend HSBC to a friend?
The company puts a lot of effort into my development, with many opportunities to complete courses directly related to my role and in areas of interest for me. Additionally, the company culture is very friendly and approachable, colleagues of all experience levels will always give time to help each other out and support each other. The work environment is productive but not high pressured, which allows to thrive and complete work to the best of my ability.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to HSBC?
Take time to review the company's values, and make sure that you can evidence how you align with these. Reach out on Linked In to the Graduate Community if you're applying to the graduate programme to gain a view point of what the programme involves and if it's right for you. The application process is very much strengths-based, so come prepared to have an open conversation and think about how your experience aligns with the company's strategic priorities.