1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My job title is an Apprentice Software Engineer where I am gradually being introduced to the working practices of the projects and understanding the development process. I have started testing application bug fixes and attended meetings to further my understanding of the team and company that I am in and how they operate. My long-term responsibility is to diligently study Java as most projects involve the use of it.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
My new skills involve ensuring that I am much more thorough and careful with the work that I produce. I have mainly been expanding my knowledge on work practices as well as my theoretical and practical knowledge of development. I have deepened my understanding of how engineering works in industry.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The working environment (company, team, managers, degree organisers) are very helpful and friendly, enabling me to settle in comfortably. Though my contribution is restricted to my limited knowledge of things, I find work very rewarding and learning things is much more exciting than I had expected.
4. How valued do you feel by Thales?
Everyone at Thales is very friendly and my managers are constantly up to date with my progress at the company and at university. The various meetings and conversations are very useful for learning more things though I am unable to contribute much.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Though there was a very short notice to the department that I would be starting, they have allowed me to settle in well and prepare learning opportunities and work for me to do. There is a lot of support with company work as well as any university studies that may require discussion on. The programme plans for the next few years are not necessarily set in place so there is a lot of flexibility depending on university (negotiated) assignment needs.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The course organiser and mentor are very approachable thus any support needed on any problems or general queries are easy to solve.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The company itself has annual review sessions to ensure that any needs are met and support is provided. The managers/mentor are approachable thus so any support required is quickly provided.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Considering that I am a student just out of college, the salary is good compared to the standard apprenticeships and suffices to support accommodation and living costs, and even more so since it is a sponsored degree programme.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are many emails notifying any opportunities for company events, professional activities more like the Army Reserves. The company intranet promotes eco-friendly activities and those that have been successful in the past.
9a. Would you recommend Thales to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
It is an international company, well recognised by those in the industry. The staff at the company are very friendly and they are willing to help new people understand the projects that they are in a lot more. The projects they are involved in are on a very large scale and very exciting. Their development and training opportunities will help your career professionally and general support will enable a smooth work flow.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Thales? *
For the interview, ensure you have done your research well and familiarise yourself with as many of their major projects as possible as well as having a clear understanding of the industry's competition and how Thales has won bids against other major companies. Prepare answers for general teamworking and overcoming obstacles and how you can balance work and university studies at the same time.
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