1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Business Apprentice- Finance Project Accountant Working with excel spreadsheets and special programmes that allow us to create forecasts for the year and for the next 20 years in order to monitor spend in line with our predictions. Calculating and creating amounts for invoices to send onto our customers. I am responsible for the monitoring of a team of people working on Sustainment of the plane, including the hours that they have not accounted for, the cost per hour of each person, and the utilisation of each member of the team. On a daily basis I create reports in excel which pull data from a specialised programme that staff book the hours they have worked to, help with invoicing processes, and chase up hours which havent been booked to the correct places.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am working towards my NVQ in Business and Administration, a technical certificate in Customer Service, and a Level 3 BTEC in Project Management. I have also completed an ECDL in Spreadsheets These courses have given me skills that I can transfer to the placements I work in, such as skills with Excel, customer service skills, and administration skills. Whilst in my placements, I have developed my communication skills by having to speak to new people and other team members on a daily basis in person, by phone and in writing. I have also developed my confidence in my own work as I have gained more and more knowledge throughout the apprenticeship.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I love my apprenticeship programme - it is the best thing I could ever have decided to do and I'm glad I chose to do this apprenticeship rather than going to university like a lot of my peers did. I would overall say it has exceeded my expectations and the whole package is really fun and interesting. I enjoy my day-to-day work and it's really nice to have a break during the week doing my education as well as my NVQ work when i am on-site.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
Apprentices are always valued by BAE Systems most definitely. Businesses are happy to gain willing apprentices who are able to quickly learn new roles and offer new skills to existing teams and business departments within BAE Systems. I am always meeting new people who are ex-apprentices who have stayed within the organisation since completing their apprenticeships, and they couldn't speak any more highly about the programme too which gives me a good and positive aspect and view on the scheme too.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
All the apprentices are aware of what courses we do, how to complete them, and the measures needed to complete them. We are all given massive amounts of support by our assessors who are always keen to ensure that we feel comfortable and are working to the best of our ability and enjoying our time. We meet regularly with our assessors to discuss our progress and our placements to ensure that we are okay and that any issues can be resolved by them.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My tutor/assessor is extremely supportive - I feel that I could approach her with any problem or issue and feel confident that she would do whatever she can to fix the problem or help. She offers guidance with my studies as well as general support if I feel that my workload is too much for me. I know i can email her anytime of the week and get an answer/email back within the next day or so which is definitely helpful, especially when i want to get some college work completed on the weekends.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer always offers a great deal of support - I have regular meetings with my 'manager'/supervisor in the workplace who ensures that I have enough work to do. In the meetings (which are usually every few weeks) we discuss my progress and how i feel in my current placement etc. I am also asked if there is anything else the business could be doing for me as well. I am made to feel like a valued part of my team and that the work I do is worthwhile and helpful.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
All of my living costs, travel costs, daily costs and social costs are covered by my salary - and then some! I am able to live more than comfortably and can often afford luxuries that other people may not, such as holidays, going out for meals/drinking on nights out, and buying any clothes/shoes etc that I want. I never feel like I struggle with money and compared to other apprenticeships I know that the wages given at BAE for apprentices are definitely above the government minimum wage for apprentices too.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are many opportunities outside of work such as: Gymn (on site) Clubs such as running clubs Volunteering opportunities such as the Poppy Appeal Social events with my team (such as nights out, meals out, Christmas Do's etc) Social events with the other apprentices (such as nights out, days out to theme parks have been arranged, Christmas Do's etc) When I'm not working I often see other apprentices who have now become my close friends, we often go on nights out, for pub lunches etc.
9a. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
It is the best possible thing that could have happened to me - and I'm sure if anyone of my friends would have been able to experience this then they would agree. It is a great opportunity to earn money and gain work experience whilst still learning and gaining new qualifications, new friends, and developing what could be a career for life! I would highly recommend it to pretty much anyone since i think there's work and career paths here for anyone.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems? *
Make sure you apply! Make sure you read through your application and make sure it is the best representation of you as possible. Attend open evenings, information events, work experience etc. Make sure you do your research. Be confident, happy and willing to learn!! Try to gain work experience in a customer-based environment - this can stand you in good stead for the application process/future. I would like to have been told to apply straight from school - most schools push students to apply to college, then most colleges push students to apply to university, and more often than not apprenticeships are a frowned-upon career, which couldn't be more wrong. If you are unsure if full time education is the right thing for you, apply to the apprenticeship programme - it will be the best thing you do!
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