1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My enjoyment of the internship varied quite a lot. During the first few weeks I didn't have much to do and felt like I was creating work for other people who had to find things for me to do. It was much more enjoyable when there was genuine work for me to do, but I did often feel like I had nothing to do and was bored.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Somewhat. They were all nice people with whom I got on perfectly well, but I don't feel like I was able to be a valuable part of the team as there wasn't enough productive work for me to do. When I did do something productive they did seem happy and grateful however.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My line manager only worked in my office 2 days a week (and was working elsewhere in the country on the other days). It did make it quite difficult to feel fully supported as it meant asking colleagues for things when it wasn't really their responsibility. However, when he was not on holiday we did have weekly 1to1s which were productive in guiding my work.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
With the exception of a few days, not very busy at all. I often found myself twiddling my thumbs and scrawling through my email inbox looking for a task to do. There were a few days when I was very busy working on something for a project, which I much preferred.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Not much. For the first few weeks the largest responsibility I got was minuting meetings. This did somewhat improve as the internship went on, but I don't feel I was given real responsibility in that I wasn't necessarily completing tasks that would have been done by a project manager if I hadn't been there.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The main skills I developed were a refresher of my Microsoft knowledge, which is always going to be useful at uni and in work. I wouldn't say I gained or used a great many other skills, since I wasn't customer facing and didn't really do much beyond word processing and reading.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It was fine. RBS offices, like many others, are open plan, which I personally hate. It reduces general chitter chatter within the team and increases use of IM. It also didn't help that people 'hot desk', ie aren't always in the same place. The team described themselves as 'not very sociable' and we didn't go to lunch together like some teams do.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I think the Early Careers Team do very well. They communicate clearly in the run up tp the internship, organise a really good induction, and keep in touch throughout the internship. My specific placement was not super well organised, due to my LM often being away and there just not being enough work for me to do.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
They have a lot of online training - some compulsory when you join, and some optional. You can search the learning database for modules that interest you. None of them are accredited in any way so it won't be much use outside the firm, but there are a few like Microsoft office training which are transferable.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Eh. It's hard to get a good feeling for the whole company when I was in quite a small and niche department. Talking to people who work here they do seem to like RBS as an employer, and one emphasised that they are a good employer for women. I don't like that they force people to do 'corporate social responsibility' fundraising every year and some of the culture seems a little inorganic, but it's a decent firm that pays well so never say never.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yeah, the interns get on really well. We had fb messenger and whatsapp group chats to organise hanging out. Over the course of the summer we watched the world cup, trekked Arthur's seat, went to fringe shows, and went clubbing together. I think it's quite easy to socialise as much or as little as you like.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Edinburgh's not cheap, especially during the fringe. Accommodation took over half of my salary for a small room in a shared flat, though there are better deals to be had if you look hard. Socialising is more-or-less what you'd expect from somewhere that's a major city and tourist hotspot, without being as expensive as London.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Edinburgh nightlight is pretty good. It caters to most tastes, with a good number of clubs and pubs and also alternative entertainment such as late night fringe shows, ghost tours, etc. Again, it's largely what you'd expect from a large city with a decent student population. The student union pub Teviot is great too.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Work was very much 9-5 with no expectation to work longer hours, at least in my team. I tended to come in at 8 so I could leave earlier and make the most of my evenings. I'm not sure if this Q refers to RBS-organised things or not; RBS runs a few things like hackathons, coding club, etc. Edinburgh is full of opportunities and you can get involved in pretty much whatever when here.