1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My Job title is maintenance engineer in the Typhoon maintenance Facility at RAF Coningsby and I am currently an apprentice of the mechanical trade. My daily tasks vary as to what stage of maintenance the aircraft is in for example, strip down, re-build or functional testing. Strip down consists of removing aircraft panels and components to get access to different areas of the aircraft usually to allow visual internal inspections to be carried out or if the panel or component is unserviceable. Re-build is the stage where the aircraft is assembled back to a state in which functional testing can then be carried out. Functional tests are checks of the aircrafts systems to make sure they operate correctly. My internal daily interactions are usually team based, I interact and work with other maintenance engineers to complete tasks and have supervisors who manage the team and supervise the work we do on the aircraft, other internal interactions I have are with people such as tool stores operators when I need to acquire tools and equipment, or with the 'Loggies' who work in stores when I need to collect serviceable parts or send parts away from the aircraft. My external interactions are fairly limited as my place of work is on the teams in the hangar, the most interaction I have with people externally is when we take the aircraft outside for refuelling etc. and we have to interact with people such as RAF refuelling personnel which isn't a problem as the RAF and BAE systems work alongside each other anyway. My responsibilities during my role in the hangar are to work as safely as I can at all times in a professional manner to complete tasks to the best of my ability as an engineer. Projects I am currently working on at the moment consist of re-build tasks on the aircraft as we are getting the aircraft ready for functional testing.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt many new skills during my time here for example people skills which you need to be able to work well in a team. I have also developed hand skills I already had to be able to do the jobs I need to do in the hangar. There are many internal training opportunities in the hangar, many are needed as auths to be able to work on the aircraft in the first place such as fire training and human factors. As far as external training courses go you can get involved with re-fuelling and de-fuelling aircraft, towing, ground running, and many other types of courses. I have learnt how to be a good mechanical engineer in an environment which requires me to be aware of what's happening at all times to keep the highest level of safety in the hangar.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy working in the teams, each team has it's own set of people who gel together and work together in different ways to accomplish the same thing. I enjoy the work I do as every day is different and it never seizes to bore me or make me wish I was doing something else. The company has a fantastic culture for employees to be apart of and working within that culture makes doing this job so much more special. I enjoy the Job and everything it entails and hope that the program stays going strong as it is so many more people like myself can go through it and learn the things that I have been so lucky so learn.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
As an apprentice it is easy to feel like you are bottom of the pecking order at first which in fact you are, but the teams in the hangar make it easy to fit in and work with them so this feeling soon goes away after a few weeks and you feel like valued member of the team once you show them how you work. Managers are generally very good at what they do in the hangar and sometimes when you all you need is just a quick chat to let them know how you feel in the hangar and how you are doing they are always on hand to talk to and they are very easy to approach. Once you have shown the people on the team who you are and what you can do it is easy to become involved in all the tasks on the aircraft, it is vital you do as you will need to to complete the NVQ! I feel very valued on the shop floor, even today before I started typing this review I had a conversation with my senior supervisor on the team about how I was doing and he told me he thinks I am a hardworking valued member of the team.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The apprentice ship has been a little rocky for us but we joined when the company was moving the apprenticeship from Doncaster to Humberside airport but nothing really held us back and stopped us moving though it. Training at the academy was fantastic, the instructors are all very knowledgeable. Support in the hangar is great everyone just wants you to do well. Tasks are delegated by junior and senior supervisors and on my team there is always work to do, if you find yourself sat around it will be your own fault for not asking for the work. The program was organised very well, I have no complaints.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
BAE systems provided training was fantastic, they are training maintenance engineers to work on multi-million pound aircraft so it has to be good! Tutors and advisors all played there parts well to help us through the apprenticeship and have a great attitude towards us.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I received all the support I needed from My employer BAE systems, they are a fantastic company to work for and all the Managers are helpful and the HR team in particular are great at what they do in supporting us and helping us through the apprenticeship.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary I have been on through the apprenticeship has been more than competitive, It has always been higher than the minimum wage and throughout the apprenticeship you receive periodic pay rises. As we had free accommodation for the first year it made our living and traveling costs much lower and that really helped us.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are many activities to get involved in during this role, such as Christmas do's and summer barbecues, even in July there is a families day on the station which everyone looks forward to. The station has its own motor club which you can become a member of which has all the equipment in it you need to work on your car, it even had a four post ramp. I myself am a part of the motor club and spend a lot of time in it doing of a classic mini I own.
9a. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Because not only is the job fantastic and the training BAE Systems provide second to none, the life skills it gives you are more than you can get working any where else, they truly go above and beyond to help us to progress in the company and become confident able engineers.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems? *
The advice I would give anyone applying with BAE systems is to go at it with the right attitude, a hard working and committed to learning attitude can get you a long way in this business. Take the good with the rough and don't be afraid to speak to people as everyone is there to help you and get you through the apprenticeship.
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