1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an apprentice signaling designer for Siemens Rail Automation Holdings Ltd. I am currently producing designs for the railway signal & telecommunications system in the Sheffield area. I am not yet a licensed designer and so I mostly assist others. However I have now submitted my application for a designer's license which will give me a great deal more independence.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have completed many railway specific training courses and also a Level 3 BTEC in electrical and electronic engineering. I am now studying for my Level 4 BTEC in electrical and electronic engineering and have many other course planned.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy my work very much and have a lot of support from my colleagues. I work in a team of 7 other designers whom all have different expertise. As a result, I have been fortunate enough to have had experience working in many subject areas. The company supports learning, wellbeing and safety.
4. How valued do you feel by Siemens?
Because of the current workload and demands of staff I feel that the work I do makes a big difference. However I am struggling to keep on top of my college work as a result. But I have raised the concern and been given nothing but support in return.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel that there are a few areas where the scheme is lacking structure. Since beginning my apprenticeship most of what I've learnt has been on the job, so there is not much requirement for there to be a strict agenda. However the interface between my work and the training could be improved.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The training dept. for Siemens Rail Automation is based in Chippenham whereas I am in York. Geographically the situation is far from being desirable as far as the question is concerned. I have had very little direct interaction with the training dept. and so I don't really feel very supported.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a great deal of support from my employer on both a company and local level. Any concerns I've had have always been addressed and met.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary is adequate for my standard of living though, as a married man who rents a home of his own, I would struggle to stretch my income any further.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Part of my apprenticeship requires that I gain an assistant signaling designer's license. These licenses are awarded by the Institute of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) whom frequently have events for younger members and apprentices. Similarly the training dept. frequently offer apprentices the chance to attend industry events.
9a. Would you recommend Siemens to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
A great way to begin and continue with a career in industry. This sector particularly will offer a wide range of experiences and keep anybody entertained.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Siemens? *
To be yourself, express your interest in engineering, learning and solving problems...there's a great deal of it! I volunteered at heritage railways to gain experience prior to joining Siemens. Do research on the subject of railways and engineering in general And, most importantly, be professional.
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