1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Supply Chain Apprentice - This involves placements in each department that is included in supply chain over the two years. During this time in each team I am trained to complete a full time desk in order to develop my knowledge and abilities within that department. On a day to day basis this includes dealing with other employees, suppliers, hauliers and customers. In each team I am giving a desk to look after which carries its own responsibilities. Whether this be a collection of customers to look after or suppliers. In terms of projects, I am currently the project owner of a project to improve the communication across the world wide Perkins sites by ensure all their requests are on a consistent platform to create a 'house style' so to speak within the process. This should improve efficiency and provide data analytics.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Qualifications - While studying for my NVQ Level 4 in Business Administration and Business and Administration I have improved my business understanding in addition to what I learnt at A Level. Furthermore I have learned new theories and principles which I am then able to put into practice while at work.
On the Job - The skills I have developed while at work are invaluable. I am now able to successfully raise the correct paperwork to clear customs when exporting engines. I am also now highly trained in despatching engines, I can work out how many will fit in containers and trailers and how to send them around the world. The biggest skill I have learnt while at work is networking. Improving links with those inside and outside the company which have helped me complete tasks and with my project work.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy the current course I am on. Primarily because I am able to gain a wider exposure and knowledge, an opportunity that not many people are given, which helps me to guide my career path on the course best suited for my needs and enjoyment. I believe I am building good relations with all those within the business and the company has exceeded my expectations with how accepting and positive they are towards apprentices.
4. How valued do you feel by Caterpillar?
Given how bigger move the apprenticeship at Perkins was for me, 2 hours away from home and moving out at 18, I can safely say I feel extremely valued at Perkins by all internal employees as again I believe I am building strong positive relationships. During my placement in Despatch Planning I received a lot of positive recognition from hauliers and customers when ensure deliveries occurred on time.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The induction provided was very well structured, we were given presentations over the history of the company and then activity based bonding exercises to build up relationships with the 'strangers' who we would be on the apprenticeship program with. Once we began our placements, we had regular meetings with the team leader and our manager to help us settle in. The programme has been designed very well because it ensures our placements are long enough to gain a strong exposure to all departments. The team leader of each department always ensures that there is a suitable workload for us to complete and that it is given to us is suitable stages to prevent us becoming overloaded.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
After a long adjustment period of getting used to the college and the course, I believe we now receive a good level of support from our tutor whether it is work related or related to the college course. In my opinion, this is the weakest area of the programme as the college isn't up to the standard that would have been expected. However, over time, I am getting used to this which is ensuring that the coursework is still completed.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The support received from Perkins has been really good, again especially because the job here has been such a big move for me. In my initial bi weekly meetings I was often asked how am I settling in and if there was anything I needed help with. In terms of work as well I receive help with tasks and issues I need help with. Perkins also helped us intervene with the college to try and improve the standard of teaching we are receiving.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Given my situation, it does not help meet my costs very well, however this is to be expected given I am renting a flat by myself. I receive financial help from my family in order to make sure I can work at Perkins. In terms of day to day living, travel costs and daily costs the money is really good. Again, it only seems insufficient to me because of my situation but it was stated clearly that the salary wouldn't change for me only.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I am a regular player at the weekly staff 5 a side football match. in terms of other external activities there are few, unless it is Christmas parties or the yearly rat race, I am yet to experience any other activities outside of work. there are charity events going on that I am aware of however only a select few take part in them.
9. Would you recommend Caterpillar to a friend?
The career prospects and overall experience far outweighs any degree that could be achieved from a university and the experience of easing your way into work with a multi billion pound company with a great programme and people is a brilliant way to do so.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Caterpillar?
Remain confident through the interviews, be as relaxed as possible as they are interested in your personality. Ensure your social media is appropriate and professional. once you have the job ensure you take every opportunity handed to you!
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