1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am currently in my first year of a 3 year long mechanical engineering apprenticeship. The first year is almost completely at QinetiQ Apprentice training school with only a few weeks on site at Porton Down. Day to day we do a mix of practical and academic work. We learn the theory before we complete the practical.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Prior to starting the apprenticeship I had some engineering skills from college, this helped me grasp the basic engineering skills that we cover. I have learnt how to complete machining operations on both a lathe and a mill. Before the apprenticeship I had no clue.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I do enjoy the programme however it can be very repetitive and tedious. I understand that the first year is the worst but it will all be worth it in the end.
4. How valued do you feel by DSTL?
I do feel very valued by DSTL as they understand that we are the future of DSTL.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is structured as we know what we must do and when the deadline is for the majority of the apprenticeship. However I believe some of the time we spend at work is wasted.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
We receive all the support that is needed to complete the work we are given to the high standards.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive all the support I need from my line manager. I feel comfortable asking for anything I need and anything I don't understand.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is very poor which makes it hard to get by. At least 75% of my wage goes on food and rent. The wage would be good for someone living at home who pays little or no rent. Each month I spend more than I earn which means I am starting to use up savings.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
If you are proactive in organising events with work friends you can probably do a few events a month. The gym on site is heavily subsidised which makes it worth while.
9a. Would you recommend DSTL to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
The chance of getting a job at the end is very high which makes the apprenticeship very worthwhile. Job prospects are very good and the experiences through the apprenticeship are second to none.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to DSTL? *
Be honest on all applications and don't over exaggerate anything as you will be picked up on it. Don't stress out over the process, you will do better if you are relaxed.
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