1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
The first year is common across all engineering schemes whereby you spend all of your time developing practical skills such as machining and welding. The rest of the apprenticeship is spent on a range of placements. At the moment, I am on a Systems Design placement working alongside experienced engineers and helping them with various projects. One day a week I go to university to do my degree.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I learnt a lot about basic engineering principles from my first year training that set me up for the rest of my time as an apprentice. During my time on placement I have developed my problem solving and teamworking skills that have helped me to contribute to current engineering projects.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
There are days where I have lots of interesting work to do and enjoy the job a lot, and others where I don't and become a little bored. Although I feel as I become more experience I will get better at asking for more work when necessary. Overall I enjoy getting to work on major projects where I feel I can actually make a difference.
4. How valued do you feel by Rolls-Royce?
As an apprentice, you have to appreciate that you are starting out at the lowest level. This is especially true in an environment where you are working with some of the best engineers in the country. However, during my time on placement I have always been treated with respect and my ideas taken on board. Working on projects, I have always felt like an integral member of the team from day one.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Although there is a basic structure in place, at times it is very much left up to yourself to find placements and decide where you want to go in order to get the most out of your training. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as I enjoy the freedom it allows, but improvements could be made by giving apprentices an idea of which areas would benefit them the most to spend time in.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Training centre staff do not seem to care how their apprentices are doing at all and are only worried about getting their paperwork done and moving on with their day when carrying out reviews. If I need help I almost never contact the training centre as I am tired of not receiving a reply. I feel like this issue stems from a headcount issue within the training centre, with managers being spread too thinly across apprentice groups.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Working in the business on placements I have had a much better experience in terms of support. I feel valued for the work I am doing as part of their team and I know I can rely on them if I need help, no matter how basic the question may be. Business leaders are always my first point of call if I need support with anything.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The starting salary is fairly uncompetetive for a higher engineering scheme, with other apprenticeships in the local area offering considerably more. However, the salary does increase fairly quickly in the final stages of the apprenticeship once experience is gained.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Rolls Royce has an excellent apprentice and graduate association that offers several activities a month to get involved with that are always good fun, with a large charity ball held every year. There is also a close tie with STEMNET, who facilitate apprentices going into schools and offering students a chance to learn more about the world of engineering.
9a. Would you recommend Rolls-Royce to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Although it has its flaws, the apprenticeship is still one of the best programmes in the country for engineering. There are very few places that will allow you to experience cutting edge engineering first hand, whilst gaining invaluable experience from engineers that are the best in their field.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Rolls-Royce? *
Make sure your application stands out from the rest, as competition is fierce to get an interview at all. If you get to the interview stage, try not to worry too much, the people interviewing you are only looking to get the best out of you.
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