1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Training to become a "mechatronics maintenance engineer". Currently I am in my second year, so the majority of my time is spent in college with periodic block releases to plant. At college, 4 days of 5 are spent in workshop developing new engineering based skills. The 5th is spent on BTEC courses. During block releases to plant, I shadow trained engineers and observe how they react and tackle problems they are faced with. I am occasionally called on to help or do things as part of my learning.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
During my time on the apprenticeship I have begun to develop a vast array of new skills, including PLC programming, milling, turning and robotics. When conducting my weekly BTEC lessons I am almost always learning something new, particularly in relation to mathematical equations.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Overall, I find the programme to be relatively enjoyable. The work load at college is typically challenging and strictly confined to time slots, which in my honest opinion inhibits the best possible progression in learning new skill sets due to the fact that some topics and areas inherently are more difficult to grasp than others, e.g. bench fitting should be given much longer amounts of time as practical activity may only be improved by experience, whereas fluid power was unanimously relatively easy to grasp and therefore not worth spending large amounts of time on. I find my colleagues mostly pleasant to be around and enjoy their company.
4. How valued do you feel by Jaguar Land Rover?
Overall, I feel that the apprentices taken by JLR are not heavily valued until placed for extended periods of time at plant. Communication with official figures from within is rare, including my own manager, to the point of rarely even receiving pay slips. Due to the fact that this communication is so rare, both internal and external recognition rarely comes by. There is little that we are able to get involved with the company with at this current time as we are rarely given information such as block releases to plant.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
When carrying out instructions left by the company, the programme has been very clear and concise with a feeling of direction. Induction into JLR was a very well structured experience that had set high expectations for the rest of the course. However, upon reaching college in my first year, I quickly developed the opinion that the course structure at college is severely lacking.
This is exemplified by the fact that parts of work that I have already previously completed now must be redone in order to fit in with new changes made to the apprenticeship. While I appreciate that the apprenticeship should always be changing to adapt for newer years, I feel that redoing work that I have already done simply due to the grouping of subjects and having to carry out more work on subjects that I have already covered in depth wastes the time that I could otherwise be using to learn or better my skill set.
While the actual training and support itself has been well conducted, this I feel is largely down to the tutors that teach us our skill set. I further feel that the administration of the course and communication between my college and company are severely lacking as timetables are constantly shifting and we are rarely given any set-in-stone dates for time periods such as block releases.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Support from the college from an administrative perspective, in my opinion, is lacking due to the fact that, as stated previous, i find the course to be relatively disorganized. This leads to lack of proper timetabling and information on where to be at what time.
Support from lecturers and tutors, however, I personally think is mostly exemplary. Although it should be taken into account that the groups typically do not move at an appropriate pace for younger learners, due to the possibility of a large age gap and more experience members within groups as a result, tutors give the required support to members of the group who are falling behind others, albeit needing to be chased.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Due to the limited contact apprentices seem to receive, support from our employer is largely limited. There is no reliable way to contact supervisors or managers, though when contact does occur, they are generally more than happy to help.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My weekly pay is more than enough to cover all of my travel and living costs as well as having enough extra to engage in any social activities of my choice.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Through the ELS scheme, opportunities outside of work are plentiful. Many different activities may be taken part in. Most prevalent is the opportunity to use the money provided for driving lessons, which is extremely useful for helping financially to secure a license.
9a. Would you recommend Jaguar Land Rover to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
JLR is a worldwide presence in the automobile industry and simply being able to say that you worked for them is a massive influence on future job applications should you choose to leave. Should you choose to stay, a long lasting career and life long financial stability await.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Jaguar Land Rover? *
Make sure to take a proactive approach to your learning to ensure that you do not fall behind. The course demands a whole-hearted attempt and should you not apply yourself fully, you will struggle to complete set tasks.
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