It all starts with an induction event attended by absolutely all Higher Apprentices, whichever programme you’re on. At your induction, you’ll find out all the details you need to know about your apprenticeship – even down to the exact dates of your study blocks for the next three years.
Then, you’ll move into the apprenticeship itself. In your first year, you’ll take on a series of practical frontline roles in either our branch network or contact centres. We have programmes for each, so you’ll be asked to choose between the two when you apply.
Whichever you’ve chosen, to start with, you’ll get to understand what’s involved in your role as well as getting to know the team you’ll work with.
Now you’ll begin your day-to-day work for real. The roles you take on will start with helping our customers with their financial needs, but you’ll quickly move through so that in the final 12-18 months you could be in a management role.
During your apprenticeship, you’re likely to take on rotations. What we mean by that is that you’ll spend 6-9 months in one role, learn the skills you need there, then move onto another stint in a new role, taking on new responsibilities as you go.
In your case, you’ll start in frontline roles – either as a banker or as a telephone advisor – before moving branches and levels of seniority. It’s a structure that helps you understand the people you’ll manage, as well as stretching yourself, so that you don’t settle into routines just yet. You’ll keep learning on the job all the time.
But what sort of skills will you learn? In your first year, it’s particularly focussed on areas like customer service and how to excel in your customer interactions. Learning how to encourage strong team interaction is vital for you too, so you’ll learn to give developmental feedback to your colleagues: a critical point for any good manager.
At the same time as you start your first role, you’ll also begin your academic modules, studying towards your BA (Hons) in Business Management and Leadership. In your first year, those modules include: Commercial and Organisational Awareness and Analysis; Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Realities, and Career Management and Development. In your first couple of months you’ll also have a two-week study block with the rest of your cohort, helping you get stuck into your academic work (even if that’s never been your strong point before).
Throughout your first two years of your course, you’ll take on various methods of assessment – different ways to help you learn and assess your progress, both academically and professionally. It might be through written reports, presentations and assignments, and through reviews with your manager and tutors. You’ll have two exams over the course of your programme, and we’ll support fully you in the run up to those.
By your third year, you’ll be ready to lead a team of up to 15 people. All the way through, you’ll get to meet, talk with and present to our senior leadership team – learning the art of management first hand. You may even get the opportunity to work on projects with them.
In your third year you’ll also take on a work-based project – a dissertation on a topic related to your studies. Again, you’ll have your manager and your team’s support to take it on, so that you can work in a way that works for you to fit the project around your day job. You’ll also have their help to build up your portfolio of work experience, and to prepare for your final panel-based assessment.