1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role involves testing the drugs in inhalers and ensuring that they are fit for human use. This involves a lot of different daily tasks before even beginning the testing. This could be calibrating equipment, washing equipment ready for use, making reagents for use when running the samples after testing and just generally making sure everything is ready for testing, asking project leaders if I am unsure and ensuring that the testing is done to the best possible standard.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I completed the Btec side of the apprenticeship before I started so I am only doing the NVQ part. I have learnt all of the skills I need to be able to work in the labs efficiently by myself and with others. I do functional skills ICT at college on a Thursday to ensure that I can pass this apprenticeship without any problems. This is organised by 3M and my college assessor. Working with different colleagues on a daily basis helped me to develop my social skills and also to get to know them and create better working relationships.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy my programme very much. I have learnt a lot of new skills as well as meeting new people and developing good working relationships with them all. The work is great and the team I work with are so supportive and will jump at any chance to help if it is needed. The company is a very good one to work for as the possibilities of what you can work up to and work to achieve are endless. Working here met all of my expectations and more.
4. How valued do you feel by 3M?
I feel very valued by everyone, all staff, including my supervisor and manager are very supportive and very understanding of any problems that may or have occurred. There is a yearly apprenticeship award that is provided to the apprentice who has been recognised for their good work and excellent approach to everything - this is a good incentive to work for. I am very much so involved in all projects and do just as much testing as the other contracted staff.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is structured very well. On my first day there was an induction to all of the basic knowledge I would need to know for this job. Within the first week of being here I was already being trained on certain methods for testing. I have been trained in loads of methods and there is still loads more to come. The support from all staff is amazing and there is always someone to give me a hand if I am stuck. Even though I am only doing the NVQ, I still have some college work to do for that, my supervisor is fully supportive that I have to get that done as well as the working part so she doesn't have a problem with me taking a few hours out of a quiet day to get some done. I meet with my college assessor every month for a catch up of how im getting on. I always have testing to do and so I know that I am treated the same as everyone else here. The only bad thing I have to say about this programme is how I have to work around when my college assessor is free and not the other way around.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I receive a lot of support from everyone. If I have questions that I don't know the answer to there is always someone on hand to help me out - support is always available. I have never been turned down when asking for help and so I know the general attitude is positive when it comes to people supporting me. I do enjoy receiving support as it helps me to learn and build my skills.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I also receive a lot of support from my mangers and supervisor. They are always around when I need them and have always helped me with any concerns. I have never had to get in contact with the HR team so I cannot comment on that. There is a lot of people from different departments that are easily contacted for help in any situation. I have never been turned down when asking for help and so I know the general attitude is positive when it comes to people supporting me.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The pay is very good for an apprentice. I can live comfortably off of my monthly wages, however this is only if I am careful with them. For example - not going out every weekend and spending a fortune, not buying too many things in excess and not ordering a takeaway every night. I wouldn't do these things anyway but even if I wanted to I wouldn't be able to afford it. I can manage well with what I earn, although a little more wouldn't go a miss, but then it never does. I Still go out with my friends and can afford to travel to work so in my eyes, that's plenty for me.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Apart from things my team plans for outside of work there is not a lot we can do as far as I am aware. I see the odd poster around site that will be advertising an event that the company is holding but that is about it. For when I am not at work, there is a lot around the area which can be done, for example, the cinema, restaurants, gyms etc. When I wasn't working, I was at college studying and before that I was at school. So I have never not been doing anything.
9a. Would you recommend 3M to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I would recommend working here to a friend purely for the reason it is very interesting work and everyone I have met here are so lovely and supportive. There is never a quiet day and for me, that is a huge positive. There are so many different areas that you could work in with 3M.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to 3M? *
Just be yourself and try your best. The application process is a bit daunting as there is a lot of questions to answer on the form. The recruitment company staff then phone you for a telephone interview which can also be a bit daunting. Assessment days are perfectly informal, which helps you to relax a bit more. There is so much experience that anyone will have here at 3M and the opportunities are endless.
There is nothing else that I would like to have been told as I was told everything I needed/wanted to know.
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