Project Management Higher Apprentice at Rolls-Royce

Start Date:
Programme Type:
Apprenticeship - Higher Level (Level 4/5)
£12,000 annually
Review Date:
April 2016

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1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


Project Management Higher Apprentice, this job involves managing unique pieces of work (projects) through a defined lifecycle to ensure successful delivery and meet expectations of all stakeholders. Daily tasks include risk management, scheduling and planning, stakeholder engagement, financial management to name a few. Currently I'm responsible for managing transfer of parts and have involvement with external organisations.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


Yes, we gain academic qualifications including a foundation degree in project management as well as a vocational qualification (NVQ). We also sit two professional exams which are accredited by the Association for Project Managers (APM), leading professional body within the UK and Europe. There is also a curriculum of training within Rolls-Royce to develop your interpersonal skills and provide specific training geared towards your chosen field, for example training in Microsoft Project, SAP and Risk.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


I like the level of responsibility given to you as an apprentice, you are challenged and can work with managers to identify specific work that will meet your development requirements. The work is relevant to the scheme which helps progress in the discipline. Teams are very supportive and I've found most to be welcoming and engaging throughout. The company is large with a very diverse background as it has expanded into a global organisation. The culture is inclusive of all backgrounds and promotes this regularly to support minorities, I personally find this a positive within the workplace as it enables me to learn more about others. I've enjoyed my apprenticeship throughout, at times it's been difficult and there have been moments that could have been better, but on the whole opportunities are there to be seized and the programme is a good foundation to life as a project manager.

4. How valued do you feel by Rolls-Royce?


Valued as an employee not a trainee, often given the same respect as full time professionals. Managers always provide time to support and ensure you are developing and getting the best from opportunities. Good recognition internally for the work you are completing and there are opportunities to be recommended for awards both internally and externally.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?


Induction and initial training was very organised with defined list of courses and training that we were to complete. This was the first year of the PM Higher Apprenticeship being run so there were initial teething problems that have been rectified in recent intakes. Support from both placement managers and team members has been widely offered during placements and the central team of Apprentice Development Leads are very supportive and give great advice. My ADL, Debbie Smith, has been able to answer many queries and always makes herself available if required. Rolls-Royce provide time off to study for exams (up to 5 per year) and time within placements to focus on other qualifications like the NVQ. The process for objectives within the placements is well defined with the manager agreeing these along with the apprentice according to their development requirements, this is then communicated with the Apprentice Development Lead to agree. The process for providing feedback is improving, with a process similar to the PDR full-time employees receive being put in place.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?


Weekly day release sessions with the college were provided for the foundation degree and we had the ability to contact tutors out of this session if required. Higher education learning mentor support (HELMs) from the college was provided during normal working hours for general academic questions and support i.e. proof reading, referencing etc. Support was mostly accessible, sometimes difficult due to being remote, therefore waiting until the day we were in university or waiting for the tutor to call back. Enjoyed university but I do feel there was room for improvement, a better method for contacting tutors would have been useful as questions had to wait for a no. of days unanswered. Also some of the processes changed during delivery i.e. assignment submission dates, this caused confusion when not clearly communicated to all students.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?


Great amount of support from the central Apprentice Development Leaders, in particular Debbie Smith. Good support available for academic and training needs during placements as well as medical help through on-site team if required. You are provided with a mentor however lots of experienced people within the organisation are happy to support if you ask. Lots of people are open and willing to help if required.

7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?


Salary is good for the level of knowledge and experience prior to joining the scheme. If you are local to the area it is advantageous as this will reduce your level of expenses. I moved to Derby and have been fully self-sufficient throughout, it has been a struggle at times and the apprentice wage is only just enough to cover most expenses, you just have to learn to budget and can't expect to live a lavish lifestyle.

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?


Yes, Rolls-Royce have lots of societies and activities to join. There is a gym, sports grounds and other facilities that can be used by employees. There are many company events and the STEM initiative tries to get people involved in external activities. There are also opportunities to engage with the local community through dedicated community projects setup by a central team.

9a. Would you recommend Rolls-Royce to a friend? *


9b. Why? *

Good opportunity to start a career with a well-know and reputable organisation. The company is global with the possibility to travel abroad, improving knowledge of other geographical areas and experience work with different cultures. The work is challenging and often different throughout placements enabling you to get a broad view of several disciplines. Great level of support and everyone is dedicated to making Rolls-Royce a better place.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Rolls-Royce? *

Understand the heritage and markets Rolls-Royce operate in. A bit of technical knowledge even for a non-technical role is beneficial. Think about how previous experiences have demonstrated an understanding of the scheme (discipline) and skills you are aiming to develop. Make sure you can pass psychometric tests, these are widely used by Rolls-Royce and other organisations during the application process and can often cause problems to candidates. Practice them!

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