1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a project controller in the Civil Aerospace sector of our business. Daily tasks include stakeholder, communications, business case, scope, schedule, risk, financial and resource management. I must ensure all of these elements are running to plan on my project, reporting directly into the programme manager and programme executive, and supporting other project team members.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Whilst being within the company, I have gained a Level 4 diploma (NVQ) in Project Management, and am also working towards my Foundation degree in Project Management (FDSc) with Blackpool & the Fylde College. I have also learnt a number of personal and professional skills through both company wide, role specific and bespoke courses - from managing my own personal finances, to developing my presentation skills, and even becoming an accredited Six Sigma Green Belt Practitioner.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I love my programme. The support from the Apprentice team is fantastic, and I know if I had any issues they would instantly help me to resolve them. My team in my placement are extremely supportive, and my manager is very concerned about my development in the role in order to help me board on to the next grade, and eventually develop my skills for my next role in the business. People are also always very willing to help in career development - I now have 3 different career mentors who support my development and are keen to help me going forward.
4. How valued do you feel by Rolls-Royce?
Almost all of the time I feel valued. My managers are always very supportive and teams I have worked in are keen to help me too. However, sometime Graduates are deemed as more valuable than apprentices due to outdated views of apprenticeships. I always feel externally recognised due to the great reputation that Rolls-Royce has for apprenticeship schemes.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My programme is relatively well structured. We rotate placements every 6 months and new areas are made aware of our apprenticeship framework so we are able to balance placements with the rest of our framework. The support from the apprenticeship team is great, as is the support from people in the business. The only fault I could pick is the support from our college provider - they are generally very disorganised and I don't feel like the course is beneficial to our learning on the programme due to the poor quality of teaching and high turnover of staff.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
As mentioned above, Blackpool & the Fylde college is quite poor. We have had around 8 tutors in the past 2 and a half years, which is disruptive to our studies and general organisation of the programme. We don't have access to books other than an eBook library which doesn't work on our company system due to the firewall. The college still haven't resolved this since 2014. The pace is too slow - we could have easily completed a full degree in 3 years, however we have only been doing a Foundation degree which is not much use to any of us in terms of learning or recognition. The feedback mechanisms are also not great - the mark schemes are unclear and feedback is often not followed up effectively.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Fantastic support. My line managers in placement are always very supportive. My apprentice development leader is also very supportive and ensures we have the correct support in every situation. She's a very good "people person" and cares very much about our welfare at work and development. Career mentors have also been great. As mentioned above, many people in the business are keen to mentor in order to aid their own professional development.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Salary is average. I have had the benefit of not having to move away from home. However, if I did I would have struggled with the low salary in the first and second year. I like the fact that we get a salary increase in line with training completion, however I feel like the starting point is too low
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are a number of local community projects I have been involved in, and our apprentice development leader encourages us to become involved in these where we can. There is also an apprentice and graduate association for social activities outside of work - this enables us to meet other apprentices and grads and is particularly good for those who have moved for the scheme to meet new people and discover things they can do in the area.
9. Would you recommend Rolls-Royce to a friend?
I have already recommended to a number of people, 3 of whom have actually applied and got into the same scheme as me. I believe this is a fantastic alternative to university as I feel like I am a much more confident, competent person for the experience. I am also financially much better off and am proud to tell others I work for a world class company.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Rolls-Royce?
The application process is quite lengthy but worth it. Rolls-Royce are trying to look for your personality and social skills as well as academic abilities. I would say look at what you do currently and how could you apply this in the workplace? Do you do volunteering, run a sports team, have you had a part time job or have you just shown commitment to something? And how can you relate these experiences to the work environment and the specific apprenticeship you are applying for?
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