1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My job title is a Chassis Loads Engineer. Day to day I use a multibody simulation software called Simpack. We simulate the loads on all of the chassis components to ensure that the vehicle can survive its lifecycle. I will interact with other departments who use the results we publish, and also interact with the Road Load Data department who supply us with the data we use to correlate our models. Quite a lot of maths is involved in validating the results, using mechanics and trigonometry to trace the load paths through the suspension components. I am responsible for ensuring that the work I publish is correct, and work independently for the majority of the time.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have gained an NVQ2 in Performing Engineering Operations, as well as a foundation degree in engineering. I have also learnt how to use the Simpack Software package which I use everyday, as well as developing my excel macro writing skills and matlab skills through courses through work. I am currently working towards a BEng in Applied Engineering at the University of Warwick.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I really enjoy the responsibility that I have in my team to work independently to release valid loads, and also really enjoy the support I get at work with my continued studies as I work towards a degree in engineering.
4. How valued do you feel by Jaguar Land Rover?
I feel very valued by Jaguar Land Rover. Manager's do feedback reviews twice a year and this is a formal opportunity for my manager to recognise my achievements and to see how I have improved throughout the year. Nominations for apprentice of the year also show recognition of the work that I have done, helping to show how valued I am to the business. The biggest thing that makes me feel valued is when people thank me for the work that I have completed, as this makes every bit of hard work worthwhile when you see the difference that it makes to someone.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is well structured, with a natural progression through educational studies starting off with the foundation degree and progressing towards the full degree, as well as gradually integrating you into the workplace. There are 6 weekly feedback reviews with an apprentice learning manager which ensure that everything is progressing okay, and give a valuable time to give feedback.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My current training provider is the university of Warwick- They provide a lot of support with a personal tutor scheme, which gives a point of contact for any more personal problems/issues, as well as the individual subject lecturers providing help and answering emails when we are not at university.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a lot of support from my employer, especially with my university studies, with time allowed at work to spend studying for my part time degree, and also help and support with work that I am stuck on. There are lots of opportunities to do further training paid for by Jaguar Land Rover which as an apprentice I am always encouraged and permitted to do.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My Salary well exceeds my living costs. Even with paying my mortgage and running a very thirsty car, I am still able to save well in excess of £500 a month whilst living very comfortably and going on holiday abroad each year. There are opportunities to earn more money through opting to work 40 hours a week instead of 37 hours a week.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are company events such as the Jaguar Land Rover challenge which takes place once a year. This is a weekend camping in wales with various challenges that take place on the saturday in a friendly competition. There are also opportunities to help with the local community through company sponsored CSR (corporate social responsibility) events taking place throughout the year.
9a. Would you recommend Jaguar Land Rover to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
On the basis that the work load is exceptionally high I would hesitate to recommend it to a fried. Each day I come home from work and then do on average 2 hours of university work, with a further 6 hours fitted in at the weekend as well. This means I am effectively working about 56 hours a week at the moment. For the first 3 years of the apprenticeship the workload was slightly lower, and if I had not joined Jaguar Land Rover as an apprentice I would have been at university, in which case I would have had a lot of study to do and would not have been earning money like I have been as an apprentice. However now I am in my fourth year, the workload is so much higher, and had I gone to university I would currently just be working full time and then coming home and not having to do any further study, and the salary I am currently on would probably be about equivalent. So for that reason I would hesitate to recommend it to a friend instead of going to university.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Jaguar Land Rover? *
I would advise them to practise a lot of interview questions, and also to practise the kind of tests that they will be asked to do on the assessment and assessment days. I would also encourage them to try and get some work experience, either at Jaguar Land Rover or at a local engineering company. I would have liked to have been told about what it is like to work here. For example the standard working hours are very early, so most people work from 07:00 - 15:30, which can be very tiring at first! I would also have liked to have been told about the kind of work load that you can expect to have in the later years. I would advise people to relax and be themselves at the assessment days, and really try and showcase their love for engineering and problem solving as these are the major things that they will be doing as an apprentice.
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