I was responsible for scheduling and managing users for deployments onto a new Windows 10 system which Lloyds are moving onto from Windows 7. They are the first big bank to make such a drastic shift (around 140,000 employees in the bank), so our programme is set to be used as an example for the future when other banks pursue this same course of action.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed my placement immensely, my team were the highlight of the experience, as were the rest of my co-workers in the office. The work I did whilst on the internship was meaningful, and was a fantastic insight into the real working world. I will always remember this experience fondly, and will recommend it to everyone I know.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I was made to feel like a proper cog in the machine that was my team. I was included in important meetings, and given work which had a proper impact on the group. This was a massive confidence booster as I felt trusted by my team to perform my job well.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager was a great support throughout the internship. His friendliness and willingness to help me when I had any questions helped me to settle into my role.
The programme management left a bit to be desired however, and I felt that those interns who were on their pre-grad internship got preference in terms of events and advisory calls. Those of us on our first internships were kind of left in the dust to do our own thing.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Initially, for the first few weeks, the workflow was very slow, with the days dragging on immensely. There was a few mandatory training exercises which I could do online, but my days mostly consisted of shadowing other team members which became dry after a while.
However, around the midway point, this all turned around and I was given meaningful work to do, meaning that I was busy every day, working closely with the rest of my team.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given quite a lot of responsibility, chiefly in the form of a scheduling task which I took ownership of for several weeks, eventually having to train my replacement for when I left the programme. This was valuable for me as it allowed me to experience what it was like to be relied upon to provide results.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I certainly learned a lot whilst working in London. Chiefly how to work effectively in an office environment, both with my local team and the wider team spread out around the country. In addition, I gained experience with the Office 365 set of apps, such as Excel and Outlook, which will no doubt benefit me in the future.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It was very relaxed, but yet we still felt encouraged to do our work and provide the results which were required from us. My team in particular were very laid back and my time here was banter-heavy from the moment I arrived, to the moment I left. I think I will be hard pressed to find a team like this again in the future.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
It was sufficient, I believe. Enough support was given so that we weren't just left to our own devices to figure it all out. However, as I said before, contact with the programme was very limited, and only reserved for trying to get us to give the programme good reviews on websites such as this.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I completed extensive online training exercises internally which educated me on topics such as fraud and how to stay safe whilst working for the bank, with reference to Phishing etc. This was all very interesting, however a lot of it did not relate to my role specifically, so it felt a bit like wasted time.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Quite appealing if you wish to work in the central businesses within the bank such as Commercial Banking/Risk/Insurance and Wealth. However, for those like myself who pursued a more tech-related path, there is no real options for that in the Grad scheme currently. It feels like Lloyds give you the opportunity to do what you enjoy for your internships, then force you into cookie cutter paths for the grad roles further down the line.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes, I was very pleased that Lloyds put all of the interns up together in the same student accommodation. Very quickly, we got to know each other quite well, and I developed a social circle of other interns around me whom I hope I will remain friends with in the future.
My team in work was very social as well, we would often go to the markets for lunch and eat together, or go out for drinks after work.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Well, as to be expected in London, everything was more expensive than back home in Belfast. However, after the first few weeks, it wasn't that bad as we got to know the cheaper places to go to on a night out. Tesco meal deals are a saving grace for lunch as well.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Very good, London is a city where there is always something going on. We never struggled to find something to do on a night out, as Lloyds put us up in Islington, which is right beside busy Shoreditch, and only a half an hour bus ride into the city centre. Everything we needed was right on our doorstep.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Among the interns, we regularly played 5 aside football at the weekends in a park in Shoreditch, and I personally made a point to attend as many West End shows as I could. Some other interns in Commercial Banking, however, frequently stayed in work until 7 or 8pm, which did not allow them as much freedom with their time as I had.