I really enjoyed working at NatWest. There are lots of opportunities to chat with top leaders in the NatWest Group, everyone is very helpful and friendly. I can see the effort that the team has put in to help everyone get the best of the programme and tried to make more interactive sessions in the programme, not just only presentations. Moreover, I treasured the Q&A sessions at the end of every presentation, as that is the part that I learnt the most from the programme.
Colleagues always offered to help and everyone is assigned a buddy in the internship programme. My buddy is super friendly and we discuss what we have done every week through Zoom. NatWest has a positive culture and it's like a family. The Early Careers Team always concerned about everyone's wellbeings and they always organise wellbeing enhancement sessions for us to join. Even though it was a virtual internship, I still feel valued by my colleagues and I feel engaged in this programme.
I have a meeting with my buddy every week and I keep him updated on the progress of my internship. As we are from the same department, my buddy always gives me a lot of supports and shares his past experience at work and lets me understand how the real office operates, as I couldn't work in the office due to the COVID situation. Everyone is always here to help and interns can always get in touch with their supervisors through the portal.
There are loads of skills I have developed in this internship, such as skills to maximize my potentials, connect with others, handle stresses, and be confident.
The internship is very well organized, enjoyed the valuable training, and sharing sessions from senior leaders and would like to express my greatest gratitude to the early careers team for providing this experience amidst the pandemic. NatWest set up a user-friendly internship portal for us to stay connected with leaders and other interns. It also listed out the timetable of all the sessions, included with the Zoom code. Although there were some technical issues while using Zoom at work, as it was the first time that everyone works at home and work via Zoom, I think NatWest has done a great job in terms of organising this internship.
Even we were not in the real office, the atmosphere was great!
The company put in lots of investments in me. NatWest provided a lot of training like how to build a growth mindset, strong relationship, and sponsorships, how to use our emotional intelligence, and maximise our potentials. These skills are very useful in my future career and personal growth. Moreover, if I can work for NatWest as a graduate in the future, I may have the chance to rotate as well! It allows employees to broaden their horizons and equip them with more diverse skills.
As it was a virtual experience, it was quite difficult for me to understand how life would be like as a full-time intern at NatWest. Since most of the sessions in the virtual experience were presentations from the leaders, and there were 180 interns in most of the Zoom sessions, it was impossible to let everyone ask their questions. Although there were Q&A sessions in every presentation, not everyone could be selected to chat with the top leaders. Moreover, we were not asked to do any sample work related to the cluster that we were supposed to work in, but rather just receiving information from the leaders. Although their sharings are really insightful and informative, I prefer getting some hands-on experience to understand what a full-time intern has to do at work.
I understood what is the company culture from the presentations in the first week to a large extent. The Early Careers Team put in lots of effort to make the PowerPoint slides and emphasized that NatWest is a purpose-led company, which champion potential, in good times and in bad, to help the people, families, and businesses we serve to recover, rebuild and, ultimately, to thrive. I can see the effort of NatWest trying to give back to society through the internship CSR challenge and various activities throughout the virtual experience.
After listening to the sharings from leaders from the Group, I roughly understood how the department works. They talked about their daily routine, how many employees they led in a team, how they got their current position etc. Although it is very inspiring to hear the sharings, I did not have any hands-on experience or even the opportunity to complete some sample tasks related to work. Obviously, the sharings were about their personal experience, it may not apply to everyone. I still have no idea whether it is a good choice to work in the department that I chose.
As most of the sessions are delivered to more than 150 interns at the same time, there were not a lot of opportunities to network with other employees. However, NatWest also tried to overcome this and offer more networking chance to us through creating a social wall in the portal, which allows everyone express their feelings towards the experience and network with others. There were some breakout room sessions to meet other interns in a smaller group as well! I believe it would be better if there were some breakout room time during week 2, which is the programme-specific week. It would be great to network with other interns within the same cluster during the internship.
There was a detective game session in week one. It was really fun and we had the chance to network with interns from different clusters.
There were lots of activities that employees can get involved in outside of work. For example, we had the opportunity to raise funds for the Prince's Trust, which is a leading educational charity in the UK. A 2.6 challenge is introduced by the CSR Council of NatWest, and interns are encouraged to take part! I joined the challenge and it was very meaningful. Although it was a voluntary challenge, everyone is very engaged throughout the challenge. It also offered a chance to network with other interns as well, as the challenge is required to be completed in teams. Moreover, there was another mandatory challenge that everyone needs to get involved in outside of work which was the Do Good Feel Good Challenge. It was about learning something new, doing something meaningful, or giving back to society. I found it really interesting and this company truly values the planet and society that we live in.
I would definitely recommend this virtual experience to my friends. It was really informative, inspiring, fun, and meaningful. Although I could not get any hands-on experience throughout the virtual experience, I could chat with leaders in the industry, whom I normally would not have the chance to meet with. It gave me a brief introduction to the banking sector. Although virtual experience is not what we desire, I believe NatWest has put their best effort to create the best experience to all the interns. Through participating in various CSR challenges, I also got to know more about the community I am living in and I had the chance to do something meaningful throughout the summer. I would surely recommend this to my friends.