1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I have joined as a mechanical apprentice and am learning roles pertaining to machinery and some minor electronic work. I am working at a water treatment site currently and have a few responsibilities. There are new belt presses being installed and during the handover and commissioning phase it is my duty to ensure that these machines are operated correctly and any issues are dealt with promptly. That means fixing smaller defects and informing the manufacturer if anything serious happens. Alongside this, if there are any failures with machinery, I work with a supervisor to try to understand what went wrong and how to rectify it.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have already achieved a level 2 NVQ in mechanical maintenance. Further qualifications are H&S related such as first aid training and fire marshal training. I have also been trained with a CAT & Genny. While at work, my team work skills have grown exponentially while learning a lot of technical jargon on site which you rarely hear in an office or education environment. Also, my skill of delivering precise accurate information has improved over time with trying to describe problems to my supervisor.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
When I first started my apprenticeship, I didn't know how much to expect, if I would like the people I met there or if it was going to be the job for me. Much to my liking I have enjoyed every aspect of the job so far. The work is ever-changing and since projects come and go there is always something new to learn. The team I am with fully support me in all I do and try to make me better myself. Furthermore, Costain has set up goals which make me try to better myself for my own benefit with my line manager encouraging progression.
4. How valued do you feel by Costain?
Costain is a large company and I am far from being integral to it. My Line manager has to cope with a lot of issues, however, whenever I have an issue and try to get his attention, he will make my issue his number one priority and I really appreciate that knowing how much work he is juggling. From my team on site myself and another apprentice are included in as many tasks as possible (that are appropriate) to further our understanding as well as help complete the project. At no point have I felt undervalued.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I arrived into the apprenticeship scheme slightly later then normal so the college lessons had already started nearly a month prior. Unfortunately that could not be avoided and that mistake was rectified for the next intake of apprentices which is good to know. Due to starting college slightly later, I was given extra lee way from my manager to catch up on any missed works which I appreciated greatly. I have had no issues with keeping up with college work from that point. My line manager keeps a tab on me through my supervisor on site to ensure that I am learning the skills I will need for when I complete my apprenticeship. I have been offered training and all the support I needed to complete any tasks that come up.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My college revolves around learning in the college and completing evidence at work. My tutor at college is well versed in the world of engineering and has a plethora of knowledge at his disposal. He is more than wiling to help out with any questions I have during class or e-mail when I am not there. The college also boasts a large library as well as an E-library to look up even more information.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Costain are very supportive of all their employees. They are happy to supply me with any necessary training I need to complete the job, given my manager's consent. The HR team are always available to offer any support when needed and they know the best ways to supply it. Costain also have an intranet which includes a plethora of information on how to deal with issues on site, personal/work as well as any benefits we are entitled to.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I can happily say that Costain are supplying me with enough money to meet my costs. If there are excess costs incurred from work related business, they will cover all expenses. If I have to work far from home, Costain will pay for lodgings as well as having a generous petrol re-reimbursement rate. Costain have a pay review bi-annually so my salary is increasing at a good rate over time.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Working in the water community as well as Costain offers many opportunities outside of work. Costain takes part in many charitable and volunteering events which it tries to include everyone in. This was emphasised in contributing over 10000 hours to good causes in 2016. While in the water sector we have get togethers every couple of months. Furthermore, in my own team at work we try to do something every so often e.g. charity run.
9a. Would you recommend Costain to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Costain will fully support you in any path you try to take and give you the resources necessary to achieve it. The people I have met here have all wanted me to achieve the most I can and there is a friendly attitude throughout. You'll be given opportunities to try lots of different things and find what you excel at without hindrances.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Costain? *
The tips I would give would apply when applying for any job. Always understand what you are applying for. This should be knowing the job you will most likely be doing and understanding what it entails. Know the company you are applying for. Know how long they have been around and what they specialise in. Be prepared for questions, know your strengths and your weakness'. If you have relevant experience, tell them, they want to know if you will be good at what your going to do. Finally, relax, if you're in an interview, the best thing to do is come across as calm and collected so you aren't searching the air for answeres, be natural.
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