1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am currently employed as a Project Controller and an Assistant Project Manager for two business improvement projects. My responsibilities include stakeholder management and project analysis through data collection and metric creation.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt a lot of new skills having started the apprenticeship with little to no knowledge of what project management actually entailed. I am able to apply the theory into practice and taker part in extra internal training courses that the company deliver as well as external training courses that consist of webinars or team building exercises. My on-the-job experience allows me to further my development with the use of a Personal and Professional Development Plan that I review biweekly with my line manager.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have enjoyed the variation of work and the different complexities between tasks and business areas. This has had a positive effect on my development and allowing me to extend my knowledge and application within the area of project management. It has also allowed me to experience and appreciate the different cultures within the company but also externally with regards to the Royal Navy, MoD and many other customers. The programme overall has so far exceeded my expectation and I look forward to what the next years will include.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
I feel very valued as BAE Systems and believe it is one of the most important factors that support the progress of both personal and professional development. My placement manager gives me praise where necessary and other progress reports from line managers are issued form part of our pay reviews which in itself is reward and recognition. I also receive a block report at the end of the every semester from the college that run the theory part of our apprenticeship. Senior management have also been keen to get me involved with projects and tasks by giving me responsibility which has made me feel valued as a team member and not someone who is just completing an apprenticeship to 'tick the boxes'.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is organised well. The induction week could have been improved by getting our IT facilities arranged earlier and meeting our line managers and teams earlier in the week. The training has been very good with the input from many stakeholders and support from both the company and college. The studying has also been delivered at a good level but there has been a slight mismanagement of the Higher Apprenticeship delivery which has not been organised adequately.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The support with regards to the assessments and exams is excellent. Feedback is given promptly and a tutor is always makes the effort to contact you if necessary. Assignment marks have sometimes been late and I have also experienced no staff attendance due to sickness with no substitute. Despite this, overall the support is well received.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The support from the employer is exceptional. Our best interests our always put first and our HR department ensure that all procedures and policies are carried out fairly. There is a code of conduct that I receive training for and an ethics helpline that ensures employees can report incidents anonymously. Our Early Careers Manager has a full time role in ensuring our programme is delivered effectively with our best interests at the forefront and thus having a positive attitude in supporting me in my scheme.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is a good package for a higher apprenticeship, however, the starting salary would more beneficial for living costs; i.e. trying to get a mortgage. However, I do recognise that our Higher Apprenticeship and Degree we receive from the scheme is all funded by the company so overall it is a good salary and enables me to budget carefully whilst still being able to enjoy the social costs.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
BAE Systems encourages apprentices to become STEM Ambassadors of which I am one. This allows us to take part in activities outside of work to promote STEM subjects at schools and colleges and promote the opportunities at the company that allow the continuation of STEM for school/college into the workplace.
9. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend?
BAE Systems is a large company that offers a wide range of opportunities and experiences. The company also has a good range of schemes such as the pensions they provide and the share incentive scheme that contribute and match the shares that you buy up to a certain amount. All benefits for the future. The care and support that is provided throughout the development is exceptional and there is the ability to get involved with highly complex projects where everyone is valued as an individual.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems?
Ensure that you have prior knowledge regarding the company's interests and the projects that they undertake in supporting the Government and Armed Services. During the application process, try and relate things in your CV and prior experiences to that of project management to show understanding and to demonstrate your interest in the subject. Most importantly, ask yourself the question 'Why do you want to work for BAE Systems?', this will ensure that all of your answers and attitudes fit positively within your application and interview processes.
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