1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a higher apprentice currently on a technical placement in Siemens. I work on projects given to me by engineers which include tasks like creating drawings (e.g. for electrical test arrangements) and collating product reliability data. Previously I have worked as a mechanical fitter and also spent some time in the quality control department.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt much about interpretation of technical drawings and procedures, product assembly and testing. I have also learnt basic QC techniques including inspecting manufactured items against drawings and various types of pressure (gas, hydro, oil) and electrical testing. I have also completed an NC in mechanical engineering and am currently studying for my HNC in mechanical engineering and CAE at a local college.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the fact that I have been able to work in different departments and gain a broader depth of engineering knowledge. I have gotten to work with an assortment of different people and have learnt much from most of them. However, due to the nature of our industry work can be sporadic with periods of high workload and periods of low workload. I did not expect this when I joined Siemens and mostly found the times of low workload to be boring. However, the departments I have worked in recently have not suffered from this.
4. How valued do you feel by Siemens?
I feel reasonably valued by my managers - not either under or over valued. As an apprentice I have simply attempted to do all tasks I am given, however menial, to the best of my ability, and I feel my managers and supervisors have mostly appreciated this.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My programme has been only moderately organised so far. In-house training has sometimes taken too long to be given, but mainly on non-critical issues. Work placements do not always seem to be given too much thought about, with the result that different apprentices may be left in a work area for an excessive amount of time and miss out on learning important skills. However, training managers are very accessible and friendly.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My college gives a good amount of support. Every week there is a slot after all the lessons where apprentices can discuss any issues with the course with their tutor. Also, tutors generally treat apprentices with respect and seem genuinely interested in us doing well on the course.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My managers are supportive and are always willing to talk about any issues we have. We can go into their office at any time and discuss any issues we have. Also, if we need extra time in college to prepare for exams they are often reasonable enough to allow us to do this. I have not had reason to contact central HR about any issues.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary currently only just meets my living costs but this is because I am renting my own flat, which is expensive for someone only on an apprentice wage. However, Siemens' apprentice wages are somewhat less than some other local engineering companies' apprentice wages. I have minimal travel costs as I live less than a mile from the work site. Social costs are minimal as I am only required to work 37.5 hours a week and work starts and finishes relatively early (Mon-Thur, 7:30-4:00, Fri 7:30-1:00)
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are a number of opportunities outside of work including getting involved in local food banks and being a STEM ambassador. The company also periodically puts social events on which many participate in and enjoy. They include tree top adventures, sports matches and Christmas dinners.
9a. Would you recommend Siemens to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Although working for Siemens has some less than positive aspects, the overall experience and benefits are quite considerable, especially to me as an apprentice. I am learning a trade as well as having my education paid for, and may even have the opportunity to do a sponsored degree with the company. I might be less inclined to recommend Siemens to an older friend as the pay rate for fitters, engineers and the like are lower than similar engineering companies in the area. This might be an issue for a young person with a mortgage and family.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Siemens? *
I would recommend that they learn as much about the company as they can before applying. I would also say that if they are applying for an apprenticeship they should try to do a work placement here first to understand daily working life at a company like this.
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