1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Technical Engineering Apprentice 6 x 4 Month Placements (4 Technical Roles, 2 Hands-on Roles) My technical placements will be consist of roles in design, systems, test and commercial to ensure I get an overview of each different kind of discipline in the business. The work I carry out and the tasks I do will depend on the placement I am based in. Some roles will involve working with teams across sight to organize project whereas other roles will only require me to work with a small team.
My placements are allocated to me by a member of the training team and I am also able to request placements in departments I have an interest in.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
HNC Year 1 Completed HNC Year 2 In-progress HND Year 1 To be started
The placements I go on are designed to ensure I develop skills in all of the areas I visit and to enable me to complete the requirements of my NVQ units.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The placements heavily decide what work I become involved with because of this the work I am carrying out is not always something I enjoy or something which interests me. I do understand that it is important that I visit these areas to get an appreciation of the work that goes on there and so I can better understand the processes within the company.
The company culture as a whole is positive and they are always keen to improve and better their staff through training and development. Actually organizing and receiving this training is not as simple or as easy as I would like it to be due to the processes involved and the way the courses get booked. This is due to the training courses being booked and organised through a system called success factors for which I have had no training to use, this renders this system completely useless for the majority of apprentices.
As a whole I do enjoy the programme but I feel that simple improvements could be put in place, especially in the first year, which would improve the process no end.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
The placement I am in will depend on the appreciation I receive from my manager. Some managers I have worked for appreciate the work of apprentices more than others. One of my managers viewed apprentices as 'free labour' as the business unit does not pay my wages and it is paid by the training budget. This is absolutely the wrong approach to have towards apprentices and that view is strongly supported by the training team. In my most recent placement my manager has been extremely supportive of the work I have been doing and has always strived to help me with my development and support me wherever he can.
The internal recognition varies from the training team, as an individual I always try to get involved with as much as I can outside of my standard apprenticeship framework as I feel this will help to make me a more rounded individual. Getting involved with events is not always as easy as I would like due to the availability and the number of other apprentices who want to get involved. This is often very frustrating when you continually volunteer to help yet nothing comes from it.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The overall plan of the programme it structured well. Although I feel the plan is not always explained to the apprentice population as well as it should be, this leaves a lot of room for confusion about what placements we are able to organise.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My training assessor is always helpful and ensures he supports me wherever possible. As part of my apprenticeship I have monthly NVQ reviews to see how my placement is progressing and to ensure I have any support requirements in place which I need. I also have 12 weekly reviews which check on the overall progress of my apprenticeship.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The support I receive will depend on which member of staff I approach an issue with. Some are very helpful and attentive and will spend time to support me whereas other members of staff are not as useful.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Relatively well although I do feel the gap between the salary of the advanced apprenticeship scheme and the higher apprenticeship scheme is far too large considering the work we carry out is extremely similar and I don't feel the higher wage which they are placed on is necessarily justified. I also think the education payrises should reflect each stage of college work you are doing. For example you only get paid for starting your 1st year of HNC and not for progressing onto the 2nd year. Also as far as I am aware there is no payrise for progressing onto HND the following year.
Travel costs are paid from the training centre to on-site placements.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
We often get emailed about opportunities to help with events the company is involved with. As mentioned previously I try to get involved with these events wherever possible. This is not always possible due to the number of apprentices who try to get involved and trying to spread the opportunities between people. Although some apprentices do get selected more than others due to people organizing the events wanting more female representatives. Given that there were only 2 females in my year group they can often be selected more than male representatives if they are required.
9a. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Overall BAE systems is a good company to work for and they offer many benefits of working for the company from training to the pension scheme. The company has a strong future and do offer a stable career which is something which can be hard to find in the current climate.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems? *
Attend some careers fairs and talk to other apprentices about their experiences with the company. Try to get work experience through the scheme we offer over summer. Apprentices are the best people to talk to apposed to members of staff as they have the most recent experiences and have been through the process themselves most recently and will be able to relate to the applicant better. The application process is open from October to February and the process is explained on our website.
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