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As sisters - twins, in fact - Priya and Neha do everything together, but they never thought they'd end up working for the same business too. While studying at college, they spoke about how neither of them were particularly enjoying their course, and whether they should look at what else was out there. That's when they decided to attend a career fair to learn more about apprenticeships, and Barclays stood out. That night, they both applied for the Barclays Foundation Apprenticeship - and they haven't looked back.
We wanted to get Priya and Neha's unique perspective on life at Barclays, so we got them together for a chat about the progress they're making and what makes their apprenticeship so refreshingly different. Here's what they had to say:
Neha: We wanted to help each other through the application process, so we did our research together, prepared for our online interviews, and helped each other get ready for our individual assessment days. It made the whole process easier as we were there for each other. In fact, my interview was a couple of months before Priya's, so I was even able to give her some tips.
Priha: All that prep was really helpful actually, because in our interviews, we were asked which business areas we were interested in and we had some ideas already. For me, I was intrigued by the business side of the Technology team, so I was placed in a role where I'd support the business through project management.
Neha: That's right - whereas I wanted to learn about technology, and I expressed my interest in coding. I didn't have any experience in coding before, but I knew that, as an apprentice, I'd be taught everything I needed. Despite our roles being so different, we've both been supported throughout. We have apprentice buddies and mentors, as well as our teams and managers to guide us throughout our journeys.
Neha: Rapidly, I'd say. Since joining Barclays, I've become much more confident and mature. I was 17 when I started, and I had to quickly adapt to the professional environment - it was very different to college. I started to develop my communication skills, networking and time management.
Priya: I completely agree - it's a fast pace of development. Within my first few weeks, I'd already learnt how to run meetings on my own, where I'd present to senior business leaders as well as my peers. The networking opportunities have been fantastic too - networking was a little out of my comfort zone to begin with, but my confidence has grown immensely.
Priya: Definitely - you have a real sense of impact. Part of my role is to upskill colleagues across the business on new tools and features we're introducing. I started leading these online sessions after just two months with the business - it was a little scary to begin, but I now run the sessions a few times each week.
Neha: You have impact beyond the bank too. For me, my apprenticeship has enabled me to teach primary school students. Before we began working from home, every two weeks I'd spent half a day teaching the kids how to code. It was amazing to influence their perception of coding, and to know that I may have taught future leaders.
Neha: The fact that the apprenticeship programme has developed continuously during that time is incredible. The perception of apprenticeships has really changed a lot too - thousands of people apply, and it's become very well-known.
Priya: Personally, I'm so grateful for all the former apprentices that have led the way for myself and Neha. They've shown that apprenticeships truly are a valuable way to start your career at Barclays - and we've found that too.
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