1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am learning project management in which day-to-day activities involve creating a Microsoft Project schedule to ensure all tasks identified in the Work breakdown structure (WBS) have been captured, this includes estimating the length of tasks and assigning sources and cost. The schedule is then monitored and updated throughout the project lifecycle up to and until handover of deliverables. Monitoring and managing the project budget, managing stakeholders, writing management plans such as: Project Management Plan and Risk & Opportunity Plan; these become the basis (blueprint) for how the project will be run. Generating and presenting reporting packs to senior management on the status of the project.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt a lot at college and at my placements - being able to transfer what you learn at college into the job is fantastic. New skills I have learnt is stakeholder management creating a greater understanding of how to interact and manage various personnel. Communication is another skill I have developed; as miscommunication can lead to failure of project tasks and can be a cause for a project to fail. Among practical skills I have learnt Microsoft Project and how to create schedules that are logically linked and show the critical path for project success.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I fully enjoy my programme being able to transfer what you learn at college into the job cannot be underestimated. College provides you with the greater understanding why the business we work at is structured in a certain way; governance structures, HR, Resource pools and so on. My programme gives the students availability to change year long placements from one area of the business to another - this provides greater knowledge of the business, products and processes from each department, enabling us to transfer lessons learnt and best practice.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
I feel extremely valued, at first you worry the stigma of apprentice title will mean that you are seen as below the core team, whereas at BAE Systems the team embrace new comers and try to ensure that you have the support and opportunity to learn the skillsets required, once you develop and mature more responsibility is placed upon you and treated as another core team member.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is well organised we have a designated day in the week to undertake our studies at college, all facilities are in place, information is flowed down to us without any issues and we are given a individual learner / development programme to ensure we understanding our path and responsibilities.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The trainer provides a lot of support especially within the first year as the transfer from previous onto the course is a steep learning curve. The trainer provides one-to-one guidance and written reports on developing our submitted assignments.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
We receive quite a bit support from BAE such as project control training for the software they use, and there are a variety of internal and external courses we are encourage to undertake if required. But at times people can be busy, so not available to support but in these instances need to use our own initiative and find supporting information or websites to support us.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is ok as we get increments every six months but compared to the graduates is considerably less. As I am one of the older students and not living at home it can be a struggle with the cost of living. My concern is that my next placement evolves travelling from the my home location Isle of Wight to Portsmouth in which the company will not fund, so will decrease my salary by £1,500 quite a considerable amount.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Yes there are opportunities outside of work and our placement known as stretch assignments to help develop our learning and skillsets. These assignments can range from setting up work experience programmes for high school students to engineering challenge competitions.
9a. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Even though the salary could be a lot better, BAE provides you with a great package to develop individuals with the right skillsets; learning the theory at college and putting it into practice at your placements, this connection is fantastic as I have done the route of undertaking a degree before joining this scheme, and University does not set you up with actual work experience, also you do not acquire the student fees.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems? *
If you are interested into engineering, project management, finance and so on apply, the company has mature processes in place and fantastic opportunities/support in developing you into a fully skilled worker. I would ensure you focus on achieving GCSE's in Maths, English, Science and ICT before applying and gain work experience at BAE Systems or similar companies to ensure its the right career path you want.
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