1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Business Administrative Apprentice working at Perkins. During my first year I rotate round the business gaining valuable experience in multiple departments including: Purchasing, Quality, GED (Global Engine Development), sales and marketing, supply chain etc. As I am rotating through the business my job role changes accordingly. Whilst in the Purchasing department I was mainly undertaking administrative tasks such as creating purchase orders and ensuring our suppliers are being paid correctly and on time. Whilst I was in GED I had the responsibility of completing stock checks and subsequently completing the metrics. Most placement lasts nine weeks, allowing me to understand the department and confidently complete tasks independently. The shorter placements last between 2-3 weeks, hence as this is a much shorter period I don't tend to have much responsibility in these placements and I mainly shadow employees to try and gain an understanding of their job role and how they contribute to the team.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
By successfully completing year one I will have an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration, and by successfully completing years two and three I will have an NVQ Level 3 in Business Administration. At the end of each placement I have to deliver a presentation to the management and employees that I worked with whilst in that department. This has helped me to improve my presenting skills; I now feel more confident when presenting and I do not struggle as much with nerves. I have also learnt how important it is to network. Rotating round the business for my first year of my apprenticeship has given me an excellent opportunity to work with multiple people working in different departments. I think being able to network is a brilliant skill which will aid an individual's growth and career progression.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am thoroughly enjoying my apprenticeship and it has exceeded all my expectations. The main reason why I applied for this apprenticeship was due to the rotation for the first year. I was unsure on which departments I would enjoy the most and which I could best apply my skills to. Thus this was an excellent opportunity for me to be able to gain experience in multiple departments and has helped me think about my future career choices. I think the duration of each placement is a good length; nine weeks is enough time to get a feel for the placement, feel settled in the team and understand the job role well enough to perform tasks independently. Furthermore, if it was a placement that I wasn't enjoying as much then as it's only nine weeks it wouldn't be long before I move onto the next department. I think that Perkins is a brilliant company, I have always felt that I have the support if I need it and every team that I have worked with have been friendly and welcoming.
4. How valued do you feel by Perkins Engines?
Perkins have a strong culture which makes all employees feel valued. I have been given lots of feedback from my placement leaders and my apprentice leader whereby they have given me credit for my hard work. I have also received constructive criticism which has helped me to highlight my weaknesses and thus helped me to improve. In the instances where I have provided support to a project I have also been made to feel valued; employees have always thanked me for my support and acknowledged my efforts.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Overall, I think my programme is very well organised. When I joined the company I had a week induction which introduced me to the company's values and policies. When starting a new placement the scheme leader always meets me in the canteen to show me to my desk and give me a tour of the area I will be working in for the next nine weeks. Furthermore, my apprentice leader has always been very supportive, arranging meetings with me and asking me for feedback on how I feel the apprenticeship is going and whether there are any improvements which could be made. I am given enough time to complete college work; I have one study day a week which allows me to spend the whole day focusing purely on college work. The only criticism I have is I feel some placements have been more structured than others. I have enjoyed the placements most where I can take on responsibility and undertake tasks. Some placements have been really well organised and good at delegating tasks and giving me the workload. Whereas some placements have been a bit slow to start with and I have had to prompt and ask for more work.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I feel that I receive enough support from my training provider. I have meetings with my apprentice leader and college assessor every couple of months to assess my progress and discuss how I feel the apprenticeship is going. If I ever have a problem I feel confident that I can seek support from them. My assessor always provides support when I ask for their guidance on a question and I receive helpful feedback on what I need to add to my work before it can be signed off.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I feel that I am very well supported at work. My apprentice leader is always very supportive of me, I have meetings with them and the other Business Apprentices to have a catch up and discuss any issues or concerns that we may have. I also have one to one meetings with my apprentice leader to discuss my progression. In each placement that I have worked in I have always felt supported, the team have always been friendly and I have never felt bad for asking questions and asking for help when I need it.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
For an apprenticeship wage I think the salary is very generous. I live within close proximity of the Perkins site so it is easy for me to travel to work each day by car. I still live with my parents so my living costs are still fairly low.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I have been involved in one event since starting my apprenticeship at Perkins. This involved me visiting a secondary school and providing support to an activity which taught the children valuable business skills in a fun environment. There are lots of opportunities for me to attend more events and the company is always encouraging me to help support them.
9. Would you recommend Perkins Engines to a friend?
I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship at Perkins. It is an excellent company which always makes me feel well supported and valued. Being able to rotate through the business is a brilliant opportunity which not many other companies offer. The rotation has really helped me assess what I like and dislike and where my strengths lie, helping me to decide on what career path I wish to pursue.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Perkins Engines?
Ensure that you do a lot of preparation for your interview as it is important to give a good impression and it shows that you are passionate about getting the position. On the assessment day it is important to speak up and put your points across but also make sure that you listen to other people's ideas. It's all about being a good team player; ensure that you contribute, but encourage others to put forward their ideas and listen to what they have to say. If you do the apprenticeship then ask as many questions as you need to and don't feel silly about doing so, make lots of notes to refer back to and take on any challenge and opportunity that comes your way.