Very much! It was obvious that great care was taken when assembling the programme. We got to hear from and ask questions to some of the most senior employees in the bank. Though difficult with some formats, it was made sure that there was as much interaction as possible. One session a week was dedicated to a fun activity such as a virtual breakout room, quizzes, or a meditation session. In general a very enjoyable atmosphere was created.
Again, very much! The fact that so many employees across all levels of seniority took time of their busy schedules to talk to us and answer our questions (sometimes even staying beyond the allocated time of the call!) really says it all. Some even interrupted their annual leave. It was evident that people cared about interns from the amount of work that was put in too. Everyone was given a personal buddy that they could ask any questions to they maybe wouldn't want to ask in a bigger group. Finally, the valuation also shows in the fact that all interns were paid for the original 10 - week period rather than just the 4 week digital experience.
The support was outstanding. It was ensured that there was always a person we could address any issues to. More importantly however, this was followed up by action. After the first pay-day for example, support and guidance were sent out on how to ensure all taxation happens correctly, and where they had been mistakes they were fixed. Many speakers were also happy to help beyond what is their duty, offering to mentor people, answering further questions, or offering help.
I took away a lot of very interesting and valuable lessons for my future career. This ranged from general insights into individual's pathways, to very specific and very valuable advice. While developing specific skills is quite hard in a digital format, there were sessions on skills like networking and relationship building, self-optimisation, or meditation and mental well-being. In general, everyone was happy to offer advice and share their experiences which meant we walked away with many helpful insights.
Seamless! All required information (eg information to access sessions) were made available well in advance along with the slides for upcoming sessions. On one occasion a technical problem limited the access to one session which then was rescheduled to ensure no one is missing out. Other than that there were no issues either in organisation or with technology whatsoever. The calls always started on time and usually were done by the communicated time as well (unless people wanted to stay longer voluntarily to ask more questions)
Very welcoming! Everyone was very friendly and authentic. This is true both about the employees and the interns. Even though there were a lot of interns and they were placed all over the world there was great communication between everyone, whether during the sessions in break-out rooms, or on social media. The sessions were varied and interesting and, as mentioned above, as interactive as possible, including a weekly fun session. Overall, I was looking forward to the session everyday.
The investment was massive both in terms of the time and engagement by employees from graduates all the way to managing directors. There also must have been some serious financial investment in the background as some skill sessions were held by external professional coaches. In general, the dedication in terms of resources and manpower was impressive. Many different speakers also meant a great variety of insights and perspectives. Even after the virtual experience, resources for further learning and development were assembled and made available to interns.
The pay was amazing! NatWest Group paid all interns for the full 10 weeks of the originally planned internship, not just the 4 weeks of the digital experience, positively standing out from most other big employers. On top of that there was an expense budget for travelling to and from the assessment centre during the selection process (which I did not need though). Overall the virtual experience at NatWest Group was amazing in terms of compensation.
Opportunity was plenty. There were multiple question and answer sessions with current grads. On top of that everyone was given a personal buddy that they could talk to. Most senior employees were also very open to connect on social media and hold contact through further email conversations. There also was online portal including a social wall were interns could connect with each other. Overall, there was plenty opportunity for networking and everyone, whether intern or employee, was very open to that.
Yes! Both through sessions and a newsletter we were introduced to the various opportunities to get involved in outside of work, for example through multiple graduate councils. We were also given the opportunity to take part ourselves, through being involved in two CSR related challenges. One of these was the voluntary opportunity to take part in a big fundraiser to collect money for the Prince's Trust in creative ways. This also proved a great way to connect with other interns.