1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
As a Higher Manufacturing Engineering Apprentice with Rolls-Royce my day to day activities include various Engineering Skills, assets, and monitoring; this includes: being a full time part owner (for one or several products RR manufactures), producing fixed process agreements, communicating with customers and sub-contractors, extensive knowledge of Engineering operations (Grinding, electrode discharge machining, polishing, inspection etc.)
Daily interactions are very broad, ranging from local shop floor and office ME's, internal communications, and external communications.
my personal responsibilities as an ME, is to ensure that the product is maintained with any maintenance or updates and day to day running of production blades.
I have been involved with NPI (new product introduction)for demonstrator engines which has been very enjoyable.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt and developed many Engineering skill assets over my 3 years. I have learnt a lot about CLE (civil large engines) along with various other aspect of the engine/business (such as discs, shafts, fans, turbines, compressor etc.
I attended a course called 'advanced 5 day holistic gas turbine course' which was an in depth and mathematically correct course on everything to do with modern and historical gas turbines.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
From personal experience my apprenticeship has been very up and down. this being said there have been some very enjoyable moments such as outward bound courses that are mandatory.
the prominent feeling myself and some of my peers feel is that the apprenticeship as a whole has been very very poor.
4. How valued do you feel by Rolls-Royce?
I feel valued in the sense that the company has invested money in me and I am extremely lucky to work (currently, as this will change very soon) within a supportive, hard working and funny team.
other than this anomaly, I feel like another number, I feel that the higher powers do not care about apprentices, it is very political and mentally draining. an apprenticeship should not be jumping through hoops to meet company targets... an apprenticeship should be guided, supported and structured to enable you to grow to do your job that you trained for.
I feel like another number, I feel like I am cheap labour for the company, I have received (as of yet) no recognition, praise, or feedback on my work.
the company, at least at a higher level, DOES. NOT. CARE.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Communication breaks down from every angle, and as a trainee communication is vital. there were no structured plans throughout my apprenticeship. I often had to take initiative and organise my own placements to complete framework the company had set me.
the structure that has been in place has either broken down after a few weeks or has been changed or scrapped. I have been able to freely choose my placements and what I do (which isn't always a bad thing), however it has meant that I am not yet competent for the business I am aligned to when I finish my apprenticeship.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
for the first 2 years of my apprenticeship I had no manager (ADL -apprentice development leader)ADL's come and went as they pleased and often had to manage around 70-80 apprentices each. nothing was done. nothing was planned. nothing was communicated.
for the first 2 years I didn't know what my role was, I didn't know what a manufacturing engineer was. I didn't receive any communication about what I was doing or where I was going.
this changed in the final year of my apprenticeship. I had a manager (FINALLY) who supported me through and through who backed my corner and managed to sort out all my questions and give me a guided plan as to where I was going and what I was doing. this enabled me to then finish my apprenticeship to a very high level and I felt much more satisfied with my work
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
the only support I receive from my employer is a financial value. this has however enabled me to complete a foundation degree, BEng, and a HND. but this is as far as it goes.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
for apprentices our salary grade is very very good. we are above national minimum wage and national minimum wage for apprentices.
however, during your 3rd or 4th years as an apprentice, you are more or less used for cheap labour doing a full time role on an apprentices wage, which at this stage, in the scheme of things isn't a bad wage, pulling in about £19,500. however for the work you are doing and your engineering and business knowledge at this point doesn't meet the salary. This gets very tiring very quickly, and in my mind boils down to a politics game.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
RR has a leisure association, providing many sports, teams and a gym which is very good!
for apprentices and grad we also have the AGa (Apprentice and graduate association) which offers many activities from: sky diving, ski trips and go karting etc.
9a. Would you recommend Rolls-Royce to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I feel other companies could offer more and Rolls-Royce is now just a name.
I do however feel 50-50 on this choice as I have learnt a lot and had a lot of money invested in me for my training. which provides the other half of the argument.
the first half of the argument is that RR is too political, over valued, and FAR too stressful
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Rolls-Royce? *
ask to talk to other apprentices and graduates about what you're getting into to make sure you are prepared.
find out all the details you can about your role, what you will be training to, and what your framework consists of.
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