1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I manage a team that handles implementation of tagging across my company's digital estates (websites and mobile app). This role includes liaising with business function in educating and supporting them about their data requirements, liaising or facilitating technical discussion with tech function to implement codes required for tracking, and when it is possible we also implement the tags ourselves using tag manager. Outside of business-as-usual tagging we provide consultancy services to other business departments with their tagging needs. This could be either extending existing corporate implementation framework to their digital estate or coming up with a brand new framework or onboarding new marketing technology tools/vendors.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Not really. I've learned many new theories, but I'm uncertain that they will translate into skills. As my background is technical, the technical curriculum is quite basic. The majority of the curriculum is about "leadership" and "transformation" which are heavy in theory. I've learnt new knowledge but I don't feel I have received enough education to translate that knowledge into skills. On the other hand, some of the education I've received has confirmed or given me the "name" of certain skills that I have been performing.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I don't enjoy my programme. While I do think the curriculum could be improved, my biggest complaint is with the pedagogy aspect of the programme. I don't feel that the curriculum is delivered in the most effective way. This covers the whole programme from instructors, technology used to deliver, down to minor things like having a syllabus before the first day of the module.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
It is not structured. The only structural aspect that we had before the start of the course are the dates of each session. This dates are kept up so far which is very good. But apart from that there's nothing else. We figure out what we need to do when we need to do it. We learned about our exams or assignments on the first day of each module but often in order to perform the assignments we need to attend the final session of the module. So it has always been a race against time while trying to figure out what's need to be done.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer supported me 100% in theory. While both my line manager and their line manager never said no when I requested the time to do university work, I find myself needing to take time outside of work hours to complete my university assignments. Or in most cases, I would have to work late to catch up on work as I have taken the time to do uni work. The core issue is that we are understaffed and currently going through a regulatory programme which is also under-resourced. While on paper I have the support, I can't honestly be comfortable being a 3-day blocker every 5 weeks on my colleagues.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The support is great when you ask for it. They respond to their emails and they do give you great suggestions. What I would have like to see more is having more information each of us needing to ask it. As the programme is for working adults, we are not spending 100% of our time doing this and thus it would really be helpful if there are documentation that would allow us self-serve outside of office hours or during weekends or holidays.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I suppose knowing the theories does help me in conducting my role at work, giving me the ammunition to make decisions or proposing actions. Some of the theories are very useful at supporting what people might have thought as "common sense". As with most big companies, it is crucial to have supporting evidence in proposing actions and thus this is where the education comes in very handy. As for my industry I think it is quite unique in a sense that it is heavily-regulated. Many of these "theories" rely on ideal situations such as start-ups. So it takes quite a lot of dilution in order to make them realistic for the day-to-day running of a large company.
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.)
9a. Would you recommend Barclays to a friend?
While this particular apprenticeship is not very good, I think it's a reflection of the programme/team rather than what your work life would be at Barclays. Yes, it is a very large corporation where you can easily feel that you are just one cog in very big wheel. But, on the flip side, it is large and resourceful enough to allow its employees more freedom and diversity in their interests and career goals. You can advance as fast as you are willing to put effort in and most importantly, I think at Barclays you don't necessarily need to advance vertically to further your career. I really believe this is one of the best thing from a large company like this where not everyone needs to be a manager to achieve anything.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Barclays?
A large organisation always develops its own culture and with a company as big as Barclays it definitely does have its own culture and red tapes. Perhaps half of your efforts to achieve anything will be directly related to navigating the company. Being intelligent is important, of course, but if you can't show that you're a team player then you will struggle here. So it's important to be a good problem solver and being able to read situations, understanding the question behind the question.