1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
performing and carrying out basic and line maintenance on aircraft coming into the hangars which have maintenance procedures scheduled into their lifespan. Working as part of a team we perform various tasks from removing and inspecting the engines to replacing flaperons and actuators.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have honed in on my previous engineering skills and managed to integrate well within the team I have been placed in. The main area of increasing knowledge for myself has been around the aviation sector as a whole. I had experience with engines and mechanics but began this apprenticeship knowing not so much about actual aircraft. There's been a lot to take in, with aerodynamics and thermal dynamics of compressor engines and also the vast amounts of advanced military technology which goes into the jets, but it's been fun.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am really enjoying my programme, the first year was very much classroom and theory based whereas this year is much more hands on which I prefer. My team are patient and helpful when it comes to explaining things, and the company culture is welcoming and direct with its expectations of apprentices which I think is good.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
I feel valued as a part of the apprenticeship programme. There were various tasks planned out for us across the first year which we all got involved in, and they helped us all to get to know our cohorts which was useful. Also our managers have always made the effort to speak to us and have always felt very approachable.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
There have been some complications and issues with organisation as our apprenticeship programme has undergone a lot of changes across the last couple of years with BAE Systems moving to new facilities at Humberside. This did affect our cohort particularly and there were a couple of weeks which were probably less productive than they may have been without this. However I recognise that this was change for a better future, and was to some extent unavoidable.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
In the first year our training providers Resource group were incredibly helpful and friendly. We were with them the majority of the year and it was great. Now I'm on base I meet on average every two weeks with my NVQ assessor to ensure I'm progressing well with my work and that I'm getting all the right things done that I need which is working out well.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
BAE Systems has made it very clear that it is there to help with its employee helpline and regular training updates reminding you of any points of contact should you be having any issues in or outside of work. I feel at ease knowing that there is support available
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I think the first years salary is sufficient, and very respectable for that of an apprenticeship scheme. However, there definitely needs to be some focus on the wage packet going into the second year. When we go into our second year, we have to find our own accommodation and transport to and from work. Therefore living costs effectively are introduced, while the wages increase only around £100 a month to cover these. Not to mention the deposits and furniture etc required to move into a property.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Not as many as I would've hoped. An unfortunate aspect of working on RAF bases is that many of them are located in very rural regions which are distant from most bigger villages or towns. There isn't a great deal going on at Conningsby at all, and there haven't been many extra curricular events arranged or provided outside of work.
9a. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
The programme is well run and interesting and there's always something new to learn about. The company have a good working relationship with its employees and have plenty of means of providing help if it is required. A career in aviation and engineering in general is also one which has many different aspects and challenges you daily.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems? *
You have to know what you're talking about to get involved in engineering at BAE, so id recommend to any applicant that they spend a good few weeks either at a garage with a mechanic learning about engines or getting involved in the RAF cadets to learn something more about aircraft for example. The assessment centres are demanding, but the actual assessors are relaxed and know you will likely be nervous, so just take it on board and try and impress them with as much information as you can possibly provide, relevant ofcourse to the questions they ask. There are also three exams to start with which are English math and engineering. If you aren't confident in any of these then id recommend topping up your knowledge.
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