Higher Engineering Apprentice at Rolls-Royce

Start Date:
East Midlands
Programme Type:
Apprenticeship - Higher Level (Level 4/5)
£14,518 annually
Review Date:
April 2017

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Review Score

9.1 /10

1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


I am a higher apprentice, carrying out work in the business (completing an NVQ Level 4) and studying for a Foundation Degree at the same time, with the aim to study for a bachelors. The daily tasks vary on where you are based in the business and what placement you are on, I am in Test & Measurement so I spend a lot of time working on the test beds and sorting the relevant additional equipment required to run the tests. This can also involve writing How Tos, Specifications and risk assessments.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


Currently I am completing my Foundation Degree in electrical engineering at Derby College, with the aim to move on to the top-up degree course. During the apprenticeship you attend many courses that help you in the workplace. For example we attended a 9 week manual drawing course which has helped me out in the business to have a greater understanding of the drawings I am dealing with even though I don't have to draw them myself. Many of the course can also help you outside of work as they are more about developing yourself as a person rather than honing in on a specific work related element.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


The apprenticeship programme has been excellent. When I joined the company I had no real expectations beyond the educational achievement as I didn't know the full extent of what I would be doing but the apprenticeship would exceed any expectations that I could have come up with. The time spent in the training school (first year) was an incredibly valuable experience as it taught me skills that were not on offer at my school and had I just gone onto university the practical elements would not have been focussed on in the same way. On placement you meet a wide range of people within your team and also elsewhere, everyone has been friendly and happy to help should you need the assistance.

4. How valued do you feel by Rolls-Royce?


My ADL (manager) is incredibly supportive and helpful, he is always there to answer any questions you may have. As an apprentice you have a review meeting with your ADL every 12 weeks where you fill out a form prior to it to go through your progress - it's also a good setting to be able to talk about any issues. My ADL helps to make me feel good within the company. The various teams I have been in are all supportive which does help you to feel valued as being out in the business at first can be quite daunting.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?


When we started in 2014 our first week was purely an induction week which was a good way to start the programme as it allowed you to get to know your flightdeck group (the group of other apprentices you spend most of first year with). The set up with college is good as you attend on a day release basis (one day a week) which means it is always running in the background and you don't feel disconnected from the work you are doing in the business. While in the training school we had an individual training plan/schedule for the different areas we had to go to - this was very well organised and was constantly being updated so it always had the most accurate information. In the business we have a similar document that states what placements we should be on when and it provides the contact name for who to talk to prior to placement start.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?


Lots of support both at Rolls-Royce and college. The college lecturers are incredibly helpful while at college but they are also more than happy to assist us by email during the week as they understand that we can get stuck due to the part time nature of the course. I get a lot of support from my ADL - I have a medical condition that can sometimes cause issues at work and he has been incredibly helpful with this as he not only helped me out at work to sort out the missed time but also helped to arrange the best solution for completing college (retaking the year - college were also very good about this). No one makes it feel as though it's too much effort to give you support, which can really make a difference as it means I'm more comfortable going and asking for the additional help and support.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?


As already mentioned my ADL and various business placement managers have been excellent. The support they are prepared to give you goes above and beyond what I expected it to be when I first started. Within the business you have a manager that looks after your placements - this manager is one for each business area - and during my time I have now had 3 of these due to job role changes. They have all been excellent and made the change between each of them seamless which definitely made the experience better.

7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?


I've never had any issues regarding what I earn and what my outgoings are. Being originally from Scotland and moving to Derby I was a bit worried about the financial aspect as I didn't really know what to expect my outgoings to be. I have no travel costs as I don't drive and cycle everywhere. Throughout my apprenticeship I've not struggled financially and have even managed to get away on a couple of holidays!!

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?


Rolls-Royce offer many different activities that you can do outside of work (sports and leisure activities). As part of the apprenticeship you are enrolled as a STEM ambassador - since joining this I have been involved with, and enjoyed, working at various events. One of the people I have met in the business is heavily involved with girl guiding/scouts so I have attended a few of there events and also a couple of Rolls-Royce organised events. Outwith work there are a lot of things you can do within Derby - since the Velodrome opened I've carried out a lot of track cycling.

9. Would you recommend Rolls-Royce to a friend?


9b. Why?

It's better than university!! Or for me it is... It's an amazing company to work for that really supports you. Being able to attend higher education and have a job is something that teaches you fantastic time management. One major advantage is the people that you get to meet as they can become one of your most valuable resources for the future. Another great thing about Rolls-Royce is the fact that they run apprenticeships all over the UK and offer them at a variety of different levels and in more subjects in engineering which means there is something for almost everyone.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Rolls-Royce?

Don't be nervous!! The initial online application is very similar to what you need to fill out if you are applying to university through UCAS. Following the application you are sent a link to carry out online tests - do not panic about these, take your time and do the practice questions!!! The interview day, while stressful at the time, is a really good thing to look back at as it feels as though you have to prepare a lot but most of it comes easily once your there. Following the assessment day I was phoned within 24 hours to give me the outcome - this was really good as it meant they didn't keep you waiting for ages afterwards. Following accepting the offer they were in regular communication with a range of information about the apprenticeship and also paperwork to fill out.

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