Work experience is hard to get. This is a reality in any field or industry. This is a difficult paradox, because you can build your whole academic profile for a career you may not be ready for. The Santander UK university branch on campus is now offering a flexible, voluntary, work skills programme which is arranged around your studies, to allow you the opportunity to gain real life work experience and improve your skills base in this area. The scheme is spread over a two-week period and focuses on improving your skills in several key areas.
As the first person to work shadow with the branch, I can tell you first-hand how the scheme plays out. I sent Sarah (the University Relationship Branch Manager) my CV towards the end of summer and was asked to attend a brief interview at the start of term. The staff are all very open and happy to answer questions and let you sit in on their daily activities. That spare part feeling that might happen more often than not in some workplaces didn’t happen in this instance. I have been offered so many cups of tea this week that I can say with certainty that the team has not taken me on to be their “brew girl”.
Activities are varied and you will cover everything from risk, to staff feedback meetings, to producing your own reports. Santander have recently launched a new app, SmartBank, and during the week I’ve gained an insight into the launch of this product in particular. Feedback is a really big part of this placement. The last thing most businesses want is somebody (especially a measly 19 year old) to come in and give feedback on their processes. However, at Santander, I have been asked frequently for my opinion and really genuinely encouraged me to say what I think. This is an invaluable skill, because it is important to move beyond the mould of the student-teacher scenario and start to actually use your initiative and have a positive impact.
The full information on this scheme is available via Target Connect. If you wish to apply, send some information on yourself and your CV to the University Relationship Branch Manager, Sarah, at firstname.lastname@example.org.