1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Higher Apprentice in the Quality function. The programme is centered on the apprentices working in 3 month placements in each department, pursuing relevant workplace objectives in each placements. As Quality is a core requirement for the delivery of the product, apprentices can make a tangible input to the product.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The NVQ Level 4 course Higher Apprenticeship in Advanced Manufacture provides the underlying engineering background. I have learned about formal personal and professional development, a completely new subject to me and I have found the underlying neuroscience particularly interesting. I manage my time more effectively as a result. I have developed further my skills and knowledge of electrical circuit theory, static and dynamic mechanical analysis, and refreshed my mathematics knowledge to match the A-level I passed many years ago. I have (through my employer) learned to understand and manage change, from a human-centric point of view. I have recently completed courses on problem solving and optimising the working environment via visual management and the 5 S methodology.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the working environment, and the people I work with. There is never a dull moment in my office. I know I can draw upon the knowledge and experience of the people around me, and I have made use of that many times.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
When I participated in the selection day I personally did not feel I had made my best performance on the day. I was completely surprised when the job offer arrived a fortnight later. On reflection I concluded that BAE Systems value my experience from previous employments, as well as my willingness to learn new skills and build a completely new career.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Given the number and types of internal training courses I am asked to attend, there is a strong emphasis on developing the entire workforce to form a modern and effective working system. The Early Careers function does genuinely seem to understand that many of the apprentices have never been in full-time paid employment.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The tutors and support staff of Blackpool and The Fylde College always seem to be happy to 'go the extra mile' for students. During term-time I attend one day per week, but I've always been able to email the tutors and get a meaningful response promptly.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer as assigned all apprentices a mentor, independently of the placement where the apprentice is working. I have received a lot of real-world advice from my mentor, and I know I can ask about any subject without fear of not being taken seriously.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is a realistic package, and significantly more generous than other organisations offering similar schemes. The company has arranged many discounts for employees with local and national companies and I have taken advantage of some of those.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is a great emphasis on providing STEM resources (people and equipment) to local schools. I have found this to be a engaging experience, as it allows me to meet people from different parts of the company as well as inspire young people to pursue engineering as a career.
9. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend?
Put simply, because they will look after you. Provided you work effectively, and put your talents to productive use. I have never regretted starting work for BAE Systems, and being part of the renaissance in shipbuilding at this site.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems?
Prepare well for the selection day, and make an effort to get to know the other people on the same selection day. Don't worry if you've got anything you feel may cause you to fail the security vetting process, talk to the DBS people they will help you with the process.
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