The Bank of England is a great place to work. The placement year is well tailored to what you can expect from a year in industry. As an intern, you feel useful to your teams and have the chance to take part in interesting projects. Everyone is kind and wants to be helpful. Everyone knows you have a lot to learn and it is easy to turn to Senior employees for advice, as well as to raise concerns.
The Bank offers a great work environment. Chatting to all levels of employees is not only accepted but encouraged and easy. Colleagues are always thankful for the work you do for them, and despite the current situation we have maintained social activities like virtual coffee sessions.
Every manager being aware that you are a placement student and that this might be your first work experience is a great help. Colleagues are regularly offering help, insight, and explanations on whatever you work on. Asking questions is encouraged, no matter how small or silly the question is. Overall, it is easy to reach Senior employees and you feel supported by the people above you.
The workload is well managed. You feel like you're busy and helpful to the teams without having to work extra hours regularly. Management deems that a big part of their role is adequate work management. If ever you run out of things to do, it is very easy to reach out to your line manager or adjacent teams to offer a hand on whatever project they're working on, and your offer is happily accepted. This also means that you are able to work on different teams, touching on a variety of topics.
For a placement scheme, there is a great balance between being guided and having responsibility. I'm working on both projects that I lead on and on projects I'm a member of. Showing initiative is welcomed, and makes it easier to feel responsibility being put on you. Of course, you can expect to gain in responsibility through the year, as you get used to the inner working of the Bank and the projects it takes on.
First of all, the Bank not only pays for but also encourages you to take on training. Through the centralised hub, you are able to build skills in a variety of topics. Once you have signed up, your line manager is then keen to have a chat and talk about what work you can take on to use the skills you have trained. The key trainings are well suited to the work you do, like data analysis for me. This and others are extremely relevant to my Economics degree.
The Bank puts a great emphasis on work-life balance. There is a relaxed atmosphere in the office, and it feels very collaborative as well. We regularly have team coffees set up to talk all things non-work. Everyone is always keen to have a chat to break up the work day, like by going to get a coffee or having lunch. It is a great place for meeting new people and networking alike - even in these weird Covid times.
The Bank of England has fully integrated the Placement scheme into their recruitment process and their management of life at the Bank. Before joining, you are put in contact with the other Placement students which allows you to meet people and create links. Once you join, the induction sessions are tailored to Placement students. Generally, employees of the Bank you can refer to reach out to you before the beginning of your placement to check in and answer any questions. The list goes on...
The Bank is keen on you completing training which it pays for fully. Your manager will be aware of this and will flag trainings he/she thinks is interesting and important for you to attend, but a lot of the choosing will be proactive from you. You can easily get your manager to approve a training, and he/she will then set up work to put the skills you learned to use. It is great to be able to put to use what you've learned, rather than sitting on this new knowledge/skill.
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
Very appealing: if you do well during your placement year, you can be invited back to be a part of the Graduate scheme after completing your Bachelors degree. This is a great opportunity, as the Graduate scheme goes through the University of Warwick, from which you will have a Master's degree. It is relatively rare for firms to offer such opportunities based off of your performance during Placement. Of course, it's twice as good an opportunity as you have the chance to be sure that the Bank of England fits with your expectations of a workplace.
Of course, this has been disrupted by the current coronavirus situation, but the Placement scheme is well integrated socially within the Bank. You are put in touch with your fellow placement students from the start, and the Bank itself organises events between all of us. Two examples are: randomised coffees with different students having a chat, and a virtual (Covid-friendly) escape room game. Not only is this great for meeting new people, but you also get to learn about the different divisions within the Bank from people in a similar situation to yours.
For obvious reasons, working in London has its costs. But it also has its benefits. Food and drink will definitely cost more than in other cities (like rent), but nothing compares to London. Given that this is a paid Placement, it is a great chance to make the most of a year in such a big city. There is always something to do and the salary is big enough to be able to afford most thing.
Of course, this has been heavily impacted by Covid-19. The City of London is a great place to work, usually buzzing in busy times. There are a multitude of pubs and restaurants around, and I know that previously staff would go out into that area to socialise after work. It's a shame that lockdown and restrictions have halted this, but it doesn't change how great the area is. I definitely hope that the next year of Placement students will be able to experience this as I've been told great things.
Yes, the Bank of England is very keen on work-life balance. As such, it has set up a number of channels to get involved in non-work activities. Firstly, teams most likely have a regular coffee/catch-up set up where work-talk is forbidden. The Bank also offers activities, much like University Societies, through its intranet portal. You can sign up to communities with which you share interests and partake in activities outside of work, as well as discussions (covid-friendly).
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Central London and City
2nd November 2020