1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Business Apprentice at Perkins Engines, currently in my 1st year of a 3 year apprenticeship. In the first year of my apprenticeship I am working towards a Level 2 qualification in Business Administration. During the first year, I rotate around 5 different areas of the business. In 4 of the areas that I rotate around, I spend 9 weeks gaining an understanding of how each area contributes and links in with other areas of the business. I am also there to other support my colleagues and complete any tasks that I am given. In the 5th area it is broken down into two week rotations of different departments. An example of a project I have completed during my first year would be in my placement with the Quality Team when I had to investigate a defected engine part from the start of the process to the end. I have had great exposure to being able to interact with external customers as I have visited suppliers and another Caterpillar facility in Leicester.
In years 2 & 3 I will be working towards a level 3 qualification in business administration. I will be placed in one of the areas that I rotated around in the first year of my apprenticeship but will stay there for years 2 & 3. I will then be able to fulfil a fulltime role in that area once the apprenticeship has finished. Building on the knowledge I gained from my first year exposure and improve my existing skills.
Responsibility wise I feel I have been treated no different then any other employee which I like, I have been given office keys so that I am able to lock up the office if I need to. I have also been responsible for thousands of pounds with some of the jobs that I was given during my time in the Purchasing placement.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
At the end of my first year I will have gained a qualification in Business Administration level 2. Then at the end of year 3 I will have a qualification in Business Administration level 3.
My computer skills have massively improved during this apprenticeship and I am still learning new ways to do things on a computer, each day. Especially my Excel skills, an example of an Excel skill that I have learned is as simple as pressing Ctrl & ; to add the current date into a cell.
I also feel that my personal skills such as confidence have massively. Before starting my apprenticeship I wasn't confident with presenting, but due to the support from both my workplace and college I have been able to deliver multiple presentations and am now more at ease with them. My communication skills have also improved, for example when talking over the phone or answering emails I can now do so adequately.
Training is very much offered at Perkins Engines, Internally and externally. Externally I got to college every other Wednesday to progress my coursework for the Business Administration Level 2 qualification, the Wednesday that I am not at college I have a study day at work. I have also had to complete multiple training modules since starting at Perkins, and attended training courses to learn and develop new skills.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have really enjoyed my time at Perkins Engines so far, the vast majority of the jobs that I have been tasked with have been enjoyable and have kept me engaged. Everyone that I have met so far has been very helpful and supported in everything I do, so I feel that I am able to fit in from very early on. I get the sense that It is like that throughout the business and not just the areas that I have seen.
I didn't really know what to expect at the beginning as this is my first time working for a company of this size, but I have been very happy with the apprenticeship so far, and am looking forward to years 2 & 3.
4. How valued do you feel by Perkins Engines?
I have felt part of the team from the very off. If I have any concerns or ideas of how something could be improved I know that I can voice it and action will be taken, this has happened for me during my time here. Another reason that I feel valued is that the majority of the time, the jobs that I am given can have quite a bit of responsibility attached to them so this is definitely a positive for me
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel that the apprenticeship is fairly well organised. Due to the nature of the business changes are always taking place and this can affect the structure of the apprenticeship. This can sometimes be a little unsettling.
On the other hand though regarding support. This has never changed, Weekly meetings with the manager of the area that I am in usually take place, this is a great way to show them what I have been getting up to and what I can be getting on with in the next week. My induction lasted a week, this was very well organised and efficient. Study days are always in place and I have never had any problems with this. I am always shown the hierarchy of the area that I am going into and this helps me gain an understand of my colleagues and their roles.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The support is very good from college. I have a tutor that goes over coursework to check its up to standard, and who I can report to if I have any problems, regarding both work and college. If my work isn't up to scratch I will always get guidance on how it can be improved. The only issue that I have experienced with this is that depending on when I send in a piece of work, will depend on the time I have to wait, so this can sometimes be days. This only happens on the odd occasion though and the quality of feedback is usually very clear and helpful. I do enjoy working towards gaining a qualification in Business Administration Level 2 and improving my skills.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive very good support from my employer. I have monthly meetings with my apprenticeship manger. These sessions are mainly like a catch up to see how I'm getting on and any concerns I have can be raised and discussed. Also my manger will update me of any changes to the apprenticeship in these meetings so I am kept relatively up to date with what's going on. I do not feel uncomfortable in asking Perkins Engines for support at all, and it has been made clear to me that I can have the option to further my education by doing a degree along side my work. This is paid for by Perkins Engines. I can go to either my manger or HR if I am worried about something and the guidance resources are easily accessible.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I am happy with my salary and especially for an apprenticeship wage. My costs are covered with this apprenticeship and I am also able to afford to do things outside of work as well, such as holidays. My daily trip is around 36 miles but yet again my salary meets this cost well.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
During this apprenticeship I have had the opportunity to do things outside of work during the working day. An example is when I supported a Ducks Challenge at Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech. This activity gave the children in years 7 & 8 an insight into some of the factors involved in the world of business. They had to make origami ducks and then customise and sell them to us, but they had a budget. They could get money rewards if they were spotted doing something good but also if they were doing something bad they could be fined. We also do a lot of charity work, and there are always opportunities for money to be raised for charity.
9. Would you recommend Perkins Engines to a friend?
I would recommend this apprenticeship to a friend as I have really enjoyed my first year. I have been supported all the way so far and the opportunities that this can open up for me in the business in the future are very exciting. All aspects of the apprenticeship have impressed me and I am looking forward to see where I go in the future.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Perkins Engines?
For the interviews I would say that thinking outside of the box would be a good idea. In my interview I made a presentation on a gingerbread house that me and my friends made in sixth form but linked it to the task that I had been set and I got the apprenticeship. On the assessment days its not the loudest person that will necessarily impress the most. Instead the team player that contributes and involves everyone will catch the eye more. Lastly I presumed coming into a business as big as Perkins it would be very daunting but in reality, the majority of people are friendly and the help is always there if you need it.