1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My job title is currently Higher Engineering Apprentice, and I am on the first year of this apprenticeship, which is based in the Rolls-Royce apprentice academy, where we do a PEO level 2 NVQ. The skills included in this training are milling, fitting, turning, sheet metal work and welding, CNC, assembly, electronics and electrical.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
At the end of my first year I shall have completed a level 2 NVQ, and half a Foundation Degree. These have taught me many new practical skills as well as developed my essay writing skills and other generic academic skills such as correct referencing.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The work I am carrying out this year has been exciting for the majority, and I have really enjoyed all the new skills. However, I am now ready to go out into the business and become a contributing employee of the company.
4. How valued do you feel by Rolls-Royce?
There is a 2 week project section that contributes to one of my NVQ modules. This allows apprentices to make an actual difference to the company and involves communication with new RR employees that aren't directly to do with the apprenticeship. This made me feel valued as I actually contributed to the company. The rest of the year I have not contributed and therefore not felt like a valued member of the team.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Before we start the apprenticeship, a plan is put in place detailing when we will be participating in the various sections. This was changed this year from previous years so that you weren't doing sections in chunks, however we have fed back that this was a much less effective way of training as skills were often massively decreased by not practicing them for over a month at a time, and then being expected to be at the same level when you return to the section. Our feedback has been listened to and so should be better for next year's apprentices.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Support is available if requested, and this year has not given much to complain about so I cannot rate the extent of the support. The company is very good at instructing Apprentices in the multiple places help can be sought, which it is instructed to by the training provider.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Support is available if requested, and this year has not given much to complain about so I cannot rate the extent of the support. The company is very good at instructing Apprentices in the multiple places help can be sought.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The starting salary is just enough to live on and not much more. There is the opportunity to socialise occasionally if money is managed correctly, but I have been forced to learn a lot this year about budgeting and being responsible with money.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is an Apprentice and Graduate Association that acts as our society, sort of like societies at university. They offer lots of social activities that many can get involved in and I have recently been to an astronomy event with them, which was excellent.
9. Would you recommend Rolls-Royce to a friend?
Earning whilst you learn is an invaluable experience, and I feel so much happier to not have debt. Rolls-Royce is a world-renowned company that gives it's employees to develop along so many different pathways.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Rolls-Royce?
I would not have done an apprenticeship if I had not done a gap year with Rolls-Royce first. I would definitely recommend trying to get a gap year opportunity in the sector you are interested in before signing up to dedicate your life to that sector for at least the next two years. It's a really important decision, and having the experience to make a well-informed decision is crucial to being happy later on.
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