1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Throughout my apprenticeship I work in many areas of the business as a Technical Engineer. The work I do is mostly office based, and also often involves leasing with the shop floor. I sent 1 year in the training centre learning fundamental engineering skills. Since leaving the training centre, so far I have worked in an Aircraft Systems, Tool Design and shop floor (craft) placements.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt loads of new skills these include: Fundamental engineering skills in the first year, Learning to read technical drawings (and the importance of such things like accuracy and tolerances), Attending a training course in CAD, Learning how to write software scripts, Learning processes, company and international standards related to working with aircrafts, The importance of health and safety at work, Many different manufacturing processes.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I very much enjoy my apprenticeship. It is challenging and rewarding at the same time. I feel very valued by BAE SYSTEMS. Everyone I have worked with so far is very supportive towards the apprentice program, and I can always seek help and guidance when needed.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
Because there are many staff within BAE STSTEMS who were once apprentices themselves, they are very supportive of the apprentice program. In all placements/departments I have been part of, so far I have been made to feel very welcome and have been given responsibility of my own work. The work I have carried out in previous placements has been to a high standard, and the supervisors I've had have been very supportive and always complimentary
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The apprentice program is very well structured and very well organised. For the first year I spent my time in the training centre learning fundamental engineering skills. Then I went out to "On-Site" and am mid-way through from completing 6 placements (4 months each) in different departments
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
When needed, I always receive support from both the training centre (who run the apprenticeship program) and colleagues I work with throughout my time when working "On-Site". Everyone is happy to take time out from their day to day activates to give you support and help when you need it.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer is very supportive. They are very accommodating of the apprentice program and ensure that their apprentices are being taught the skills making them ready to come out of their time and be a fully employed skilled worker.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
At BAE SYSTEMS the apprentice wage is very good and competitive to other apprenticeship of the same standard. I moved to Preston from Cambridge to start an apprenticeship with BAE SYSTEMS and my wage (although quite tight for money in the first year) has allowed me to get by each month. There have often been times where I have had to get my parents to help me out with paying my rent in difficult months. Although I agree that BAE SYSTEMS pay very well for an apprenticeship, for someone young like myself who is living away from home, it is difficult to be able to afford going on holiday with my current wage (I haven't had "proper" holiday since starting at BAE). It is also particularly difficult paying for a car, the running costs and car insurance (which is very expensive for young people), but is an essential thing that I must pay to be able to commute to work.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
As an apprentice there are many things to get involved in. These include apprentice fairs, the princes trust project, work skills challenge, the German exchange and a fair few more. There is also organisations BAE encourage us to join such as the IET which is an engineering organisation who organise talks and events all over the country.
9. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend?
At BAE I feel very valued, and while attending a college course (currently just finishing off my first year HNC in aeronautical engineering) you also earn money. It is an alternative to going to university and certainly within BAE, the apprenticeship is valued as much as and university graduate. There is also scope in the future to be able to apply for BAE to fund for you a degree as long as the business sees it beneficial to your future job role.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems?
Most certainly read up about what the business does (as it doesn't just builds aircrafts) and consider applying for an apprenticeship at different sites across the UK. Although I am happy living in Preston I wonder what may have happened if I had applied for an apprenticeship closer to home (the BAE Rochester site, south east of London)
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