1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an aircraft mechanical maintenance apprentice with BAE Systems. I am currently in the second year of my apprenticeship on base at RAF Marham, Norfolk. My day to day tasks are wide and varied in nature. I carry out removal and refit tasks on hydraulic systems, airframe structures (e.g landing gear), control surfaces and many other parts that make up the aircraft. I also carry out functional testing of these components and systems as a whole. I may be working in a team or on my own depending on the complexity and size of the task. I will also be responsible for signing the job as completed. I also have time out of the shop floor in order to complete the write-ups and underpinning knowledge required for my NVQ.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt my trade from the ground up. I had not done much similar work until I had joined the apprenticeship so I have learnt completely the skills required to carry out maintenance on aircraft. I have already completed the Performing Engineering Operations and functional skills aspects of the course. I have developed the skills for working with metal and creating assemblies during my time at the maintenance academy. Once on base I have completed some different training courses to allow me to learn new equipment, and there is always opportunities for more further training, both during and beyond my apprenticeship. Once completed, I will have learnt my level 3 NVQ, allowing me to form a career in aviation maintenance.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly have enjoyed the apprenticeship programme with BAE Sytems. The company provides a lot of support in order to complete the apprenticeship. They provide accommodation next to the training academy for the first year, allowing you to find your feet and be prepared to move to the base in the second year. The job is a very different job to a lot of others and I find it a very exciting and enjoyable programme to be a part of. Everyone is willing to help you achieve and it makes being a part of the programme a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
I feel like the apprentices with BAE Sytems are very important to them and they are willing to provide you with a lot of help and support to complete the programme and become a qualified engineer. We are fully involved with all tasks in the workplace and integrate as a full member of the team we are working in which makes you feel that you are a valued and important addition to the company and the team.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme follows a very well tried and tested and proven schedule. You start with a year at the academy, first doing the theory modules, then the PEO (hand skills) tasks and followed by going onto the training aircraft. You then enter the second year on base where you work through the NVQ portfolio over the course of your second year to finish. There are defined staff throughout, from assessors to instructors throughout who are awlays on hand to help you with any problems or issues. Meetings with your assessor are also very regular, helping to get the tasks required of you completed on time and to the required standard.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The training provider (resource group) provided a great level of support. Their instructors were willing to explain things in great details if necessary. They were willing to remain behind to help with any remedial training or additional training that was required by us. They made the training very enjoyable and were very approachable and engaging throughout training.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer provides fantastic support to help complete the apprenticeship. I have dedicated assessors who I am able to speak to at any time to deal with any problems and also provide regular assessments. There are also managers at the academy that I am able to speak to if I have any other problems that may need addressing. There are also HR staff available on the base to ensure that any HR issues can be dealt with.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary is more than sufficient to provide me with suitable earnings for renting, travel and social life. During the first year of the apprenticeship accommodation was provided free of charge, allowing me to get together savings to allow me to be prepared for moving onto the base.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are company benefits which allow for benefits in your non-working life, such as phone contract discounts etc. As you do become good friends with the other apprentices on the course, you do end up meeting them during the nights and weekends, which provides a good social life.
9a. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
They are a very well known company and being employed by a company of this caliber is a very satisfying feeling. There are so many opportunities for personal development within the company. Being such a huge company, there are amazing opportunities to work abroad and in many exciting opportunities and business divisions to get involved with.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems? *
Fill out the best application you can, take your time and make sure you have done it right as as best as you can possibly make it. When it comes to interviews, make yourself stand out to the recruitment team. Do your research before the interview, the more you know about the company, the better you will be able to handle the interview.
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