1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a BodyCAD apprentice, and my job role is to create Computer aided design models which can be easily adjusted, saving the company time and money in the process. I am part of the Lids team, in which I am joined by 4 other apprentices, my mentor and my mentor support. I interact with the group continually throughout the day. I am responsible for scoping and creating models that can be used by the company.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt a lot of new skills. I now have a really good understanding of CAD and AVA techniques, which are vital for the role. I have also had the chance to develop my teamwork skills, with lots of different opportunities, both at work and at college. Presenting was always something that I disliked, however I have had done a lot of presentations in front of varying numbers of people at various different levels in the business.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the programme. I love the department that I work in; the atmosphere is always a good one and I have a lot of friends in the department. There is usually work that needs doing, so I rarely spend time sat at my desk not doing anything. The time spent at college is less enjoyable; some of the teachers are poor at their job and feel that they do their best to belittle you. On the plus side, it is nice to be able to catch up with apprentices that work in different departments and see how they are getting on.
4. How valued do you feel by Jaguar Land Rover?
I feel valued by the company. I know that the work I am doing will be used by the business so its not like the work I'm doing is just to occupy my time with no real benefit. My managers congratulate us on a job well done, and if there are opportunities for external recognition, they will always advice that you pursuit them.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My department is probably the most organised department that took on apprentices; however this is because they took on 46 of us in one go - it would've been chaos if there was no structure! There is a defined path for us, both in terms of the work done in plant, and the learning from college and university. We have inductions every time we encounter something new. Our team have two catch-up sessions every week; one to discuss the weeks activities and the other to evaluate what we've been doing. The department is trying to implement a "star system", in which each apprentice is sat near their mentor and mentor support, for easy access. However this is difficult due to the lack of desks, so a rotation system is in operation so two apprentices can be sat with the mentor and mentor support at any one point.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
If you have any issues at college, then generally the staff will get back to you quickly to hopefully solve the problems you were having. As we are now only there once a week, it can be difficult to get a 1 to 1 session with them; however most tutors offer an open door policy, in which if you have any issues you can ask them as and when you need to. Some staff are much less sympathetic at the fact that we have to work 8 hour days when we're not at college, when asked why we haven't read through our entire collection of notes every week, but then again he is a university lecturer that's ended up trying to teach (and failing in the process).
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
There is a lot of support offered at JLR, whether it be for professional or personal purposes. The first place to go for support is your mentor or mentor support; they will do their best to solve the issue - failing that, they will point you in the right direction. We have the chance to sit down with our manager in skip level meetings every 4 weeks or so, to discuss anything on our minds which we would not want to discuss with our mentors. Getting in touch with HR uses a ticket system through email; I have not yet used the system so I cannot comment on its efficiency.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary as a JLR degree apprentice is fantastic. We started on around £19000, and this increases by around £1500 every six months, subject to passing college modules and there being no behavioural issues. We also got given the opportunity to opt in for a 40 hour week (up from 37 hours), to further increase our wage. At the time of writing, I am in my second year and am taking home about £1500 a month, after tax, NI and student loan repayments. I find this more than sufficient, as I live in a house share with 6 others just down the road from the plant, and therefore do not have to spend much money on driving. Rent and council tax add to around £340, electricity works out at around £11 and oil a little more. I have a car leased through an employee scheme which costs around £180. This leaves me with a fair bit to live off.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
JLR run CSR events throughout the year. Some of them involve apprentices representing the company at schools and employment fairs, taking questions and telling potential new apprentices about the opportunities at JLR. Each department also runs a more community based activity; in September we had the opportunity to visit a local primary school and do some landscaping in the grounds, which gave me the opportunity to meet people from around the department, increasing my network. There is also a group of us that play hockey, which is great fun.
9a. Would you recommend Jaguar Land Rover to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
It is a great place to do an apprenticeship. There are very few places that offer the opportunity to get a degree whilst getting paid a lot of money. Add that to the fact that there is a wide variety of job roles on offer, the support is great and the work is challenging, I can't see anywhere else where I would want to be right now. I just wish I'd applied for this apprenticeship before I'd been to uni, and saved myself the debt!
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Jaguar Land Rover? *
Get your application in as early as possible. Make the most of any practice tests on offer before the real ones which you will do in the second stage of your application. Remember that if you reach the assessment centre, they want to hire you. Try not to show your nerves. Be yourself. Talk to the other applicants and get to know them, 2 of the people I live with were on my assessment centre. Take on board everything that is being said, as if you aren't successful, you can take everything you've learnt with you to future applications.
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