1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I work as Project Management support on a contract team. This involves contract closure, dealing with production issues of the Typhoon aircraft and estimating budgets for the workload, whilst supporting risk, budgets and schedule frameworks.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am now competent in dealing with technical processes at BAE including risk, change and finance management. My communication skills have improved as well as time management. I have done lots of training including ambassador events, RAF awareness and obviously Project Management training.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have made many great friends at BAE but they are the people in my year on my apprenticeship course. The people I work with in office, not so much. There isn't a great atmosphere in here in terms of motivation and chatting on a personal level, but I know that there is in other offices. I don't entirely enjoy what I do but there are good days where I feel like I have succeeded in something or added value to the company. On the other hand, there are very quiet days which can be boring and feel wasted.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
Apprentices are seen as the future and get paid very well, provided with a lot of training but in reality we get given sometimes mundane tasks to do that seniors don't want to do, instead of really contributing to the company's success.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
There are two managers that co-ordinate our scheme including placement moves, providing training and advice. They do this well with 5 1 year placements in different areas of the business, which are usually varied. Induction was fairly good including tours of both sites, but the social aspect is the main thing that is missing. There is reliance on older apprentices to help out and often they do not.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
One of the scheme co-ordinators is always willing to help and offers 1-to-1 sessions if you need help. Through a difficult time in my apprenticeship, she offered advice and ended up moving me to a new team to enjoy the job more.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
This varies from manager to manager in the office. Personally, I really get on with my manager and he encourages me to engage in training and provides different experiences where possible. He is approachable but the only issue is he does not provide sufficient workload and often doesn't check work, which can be an issue at times.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is very good and enables me to lead a very enjoyable social life out of work, holidays, new car, the lot. It comes to something when the only time people complain about money here is when the bonus isn't high enough.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I have engaged in ambassador work which means going into a career's fair or school and talking to people about my apprenticeship and offer advice. I have done this twice and look for more opportunities in the future as I really enjoyed it. I have also played football many times on the pitches next to one of our offices.
9a. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Although an apprenticeship here can be a rocky road with highs and lows both in the office and at college, the opportunities it provides and the great salary outweighs the negatives, especially as your degree is paid for! There's also a large variance in placements, some are great but some just aren't.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems? *
When applying, focus on experiences and skills you have. Pick instances of teamwork, management, problem-solving and communication skills to demonstrate how well you can perform. In the assessment centre, be confident in an interview asking lots of questions back to the interviewers regarding the apprenticeship to prove your interest. In a group task, assert dominance early, leading and progress discussions, but also bring in people that aren't as talkative to show you are a people person and you can lead a team.
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