1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My current role is a Project Controller on the Combat Systems Offshore Patrol Vessel Project. My daily tasks involves liaising with the Project Manager to establish the status of the schedule and what impact it will have on the cost of the project. It also involves looking at project risk, finances, attending various reviews at different levels of management, analysing data, looking at resources, preparing reporting packs and any other task that the project manager requires support on. As a Project Controller I am the Project Managers right hand man when it comes to numbers and various forms of data. The only criticism I would have would be that sometimes you can lose sight of the project when you get your head stuck in numbers.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The amount of new skills I have learnt are endless. When coming onto the scheme from my A levels I didn't really know what was involved in Project Management/Project Control but now I find myself 3 years in occupying a full time project control role with all the skills necessary to perform in my role. The skills that I have learnt in the workplace have also really helped me with my college work.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have given this a 9 out of 10 because it is a brilliant program to be on, the sort of projects we work on, on a daily basis are mind blowing and I never saw myself a few years ago working on such large projects. In terms of my college work, I find it very motivating knowing that I can apply the skills I learn in the workplace. The only reason why I didn't give a 10 was based on when I need to submit an assignment for college and im struggling to get it done on time - that's not enjoyable!
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
BAE Systems are a great company to work for, with an ageing demographic in the business there is a huge focus on bringing through apprentices and training us up to become the leaders of the future. I have been fortunate enough to attend many conferences including the BAE global Project Management conference and there is always a focus on apprentices at the events.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I have given it a 6 because the program is still fairly new, this is only the 3rd year of running the program in the south and therefore has had a few teething problem such as pay structure not being sorted out, placements not being defined etc. Nothing major though and it is all getting captured in a quarterly lessons learnt tracker to further improve the scheme.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
It has been up and down with the training provider, last term we had a mixture of lecturers which caused confusion and made sessions a bit disjointed leaving us feeling a bit unsupported. However this term, (Jan onwards) we have one lecturer that is very supportive, knowledgeable, makes the training enjoyable and most importantly relates it to work.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
In the past year in my business unit we have had an early careers manager appointed who looks after all the apprentices. This has been a big turning point for me in terms of support in the workplace, we have 12 weeks reviews that aid my development and make sure that they are doing all they can to aid my learning. I always get support when I need it.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I am still living at home so the salary meets my costs very well. I have been on many holidays and have bought a few cars so I cant complain at all. I can see why some may say that the salary isn't enough when they are looking at getting on the property ladder etc. but for me its brilliant.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There aren't as many opportunities in my business unit as there are in others in terms of STEM activities. This is however starting to change since the appointment of the early careers manager and we had our first open evening in February. I have attended a lot of events with work including a visit into London to meet the Lord Mayor! Another event that we had this year as part of the apprenticeship was a trip to the Lake district on an Outward Bound course, that was very good and definitely helped my development.
9a. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
The chance to work on some of the biggest projects in the UK whilst studying for a degree and getting a very decent wage is not something that can be turned down. I have and will continue to recommend my apprenticeship to all my friends!
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems? *
My no1 tip for the application process at BAE would be to believe in yourself, when I did the initial tests I never thought id pass let alone go to an assessment centre, have an interview and get the job. And now I am a project controller that has worked on some of the biggest defence projects in the UK! If you do your research on the company and the role and touch on how your life experiences fit to the role then you should get through it no trouble.
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