1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I'm a project controller for BAE Systems, working on their Combat Air programmes. I'm responsible for managing a large Engineering department of approximately 150 people, involving regular interaction with a number of senior people within the business.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
As part of the scheme I am studying towards a degree in Project Management, funded by the company. There are many opportunities within work to learn new skills and toolsets. I have developed many personal skills such as communication, time management and self-confidence.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
On the whole the work is challenging but rewarding. The scheme is made up of 5 twelve month placements, so there is plenty of opportunity to work on many programmes and teams. The culture of the company is generally positive, with a large emphasis on supporting apprentices/graduates.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
There are multiple reward mechanisms in place, and many support systems for early careers. Large investment in apprentices and graduates across the business and its divisions, and always treated as a valued member of the wider team.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
There is two weeks or so of induction training and after that it's straight into work. You study for your degree on day release over the 5 years. There is a wide reaching mentor system in place, and a central team managing the scheme who are easy to access if you have any queries or concerns.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Tutor availability is generally good, and they will endeavour to meet your needs. It's tough to balance a full time job with studying for a degree but the tutors are aware of the balance we must strike.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Many managers are used to hosting apprentices due to the number that BAE employ. Mentors are offered to all new starters, and the scheme managers endeavour to support you in any way they can.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The living costs in the area are relatively low and the salary is very competitive, one of the best paying higher apprenticeships out there. This helps the social side of things, as everyone is generally up for a beer or two!
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are some additional opportunities, such as a week on an 'Outward Bound' course in the Lake District at the end of the first year. There is a sports club on both main sites, and Preston isn't far away for nights out. Within easy reach of Manchester and Liverpool.
9a. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Large company with many support mechanisms and opportunities for apprentices, probably one of the best apprenticeship providers in the UK. Good salary and a degree funded by the company.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems? *
Fairly long application process due to the numbers of applications received. Take the time to make a really good application, and be confident in your abilities on the assessment day - your assessors are only human!
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