1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Business Management Apprentice at BAE Systems Preston, I am currently working in Cost base and all five of my placements will be in Finance. On a weekly basis, I do the headcount reports for each area of the business and publish this to the required employees, I also do the suspense report and send out the emails to a distribution list of 200 people regarding Suspense and booking hours. In addition to this, I look after cost transfers to and from costbase and contract and the General Ledger file. I am also involved with Physical Verification of fixed assets and have also been attending BPS reviews. As well as the jobs I undertake within Finance, I work on my NVQ work, Project management course at course, I am a Stem Ambassador and also helping out with the planning of an Apprentice Completion Ceremony.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Yes, Since working within finance I have learnt system skills and I am able to use systems such as SAP, Baan and Crystal Finance. I have also developed skills within Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint. I have undertaken an Ambassador training course which means I am able to go into schools/colleges and talk about BAE Systems and what we do as a company. Within working in Finance, I am learning accounting skills too. The Apprenticeship has also built on my confidence a lot as I feel comfortable doing presentations etc in front of a number of people.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I really enjoy the placement that I am in at the moment, the work is challenging but it get's me thinking and keeps me on the ball at all times. I am in a very friendly and approachable team and I look forward to coming into work to see the people I work with. The Company Culture is everyone wants to be more efficient in their day job, and everyone wants to better themselves. I think this gives people more drive to want to do well. The programme is different to what I though it would be, I expected to be sat at a desk bored but, I have been very busy throughout my placement and the days go very quickly! I really enjoy my role in costbase and enjoy coming into work!
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
I feel very valued from my manager, especially when I receive appraisal for work completed. At the moment there are people on long term sick so I am helping out with their jobs which gives me a purpose to what I am doing. I am involved in a project on expenses and the new policy within BAE systems, I am working on cutting costs for Combat Air and how we can be more efficient as a company. I have completed presentations for various directors therefore; this makes me feel valued in my role.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Our programme is very well organised. On the first week we were given a thorough induction at the training centre and during the first weeks on my placement I completed all the mandated training set. We have a lot of support from the college teachers regarding out BTEC PM course externally. Although internally I receive a lot of support from my team and placement manager. Within the team I work in we all receive certain jobs and have a workload chart to say who does what, I reports to my manager/his manager when he is off therefore; there is always someone if you need support. My placements are very well organised and structured.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I think sometimes we may need a bit more support in NVQ work but I understand there are 60 apprentices in 1st and 2nd year. This makes it quite difficult to set up a meeting with your Assessors, and sometimes it is easy to feel as if you are slightly behind on NVQ work if you do not have confirmation off your assessor of the quality of it. The assessors are more than happy to help when they have the time though and i find them quite helpful with any questions or queries i might have.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a lot of support from my manager with work regarding my role or even NVQ/College work. My manager is always happy to help me with any queries I have and i always have the confidence to go and speak to them wherever i feel the need which is good. Personally, I do not have much contact with Human Resources, although this is because I have not yet encountered any problems. However, I know that there is always someone to help and support me if I need it.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary covers basic living costs (I live at home so it isn't much of a problem for me), It covers my lift share money and meals throughout the week. I live in Preston and I work in Preston so it covers my costs for travelling to and from work. Although, Once I have paid everything and put some savings away for a car I struggle to find money for social activities. It can be quite demoralising knowing you are completing the same job as someone else although they receive a much higher wage than you. The Apprentices were supposed to have a pay rise in the April pay although, we did not receive this.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Yes BAE Systems offers plenty of company events and activities, such as the opportunity to get involved with road shows and family fun days. The apprentices are also entering a team into Preston docks Dragon Boat Race. BAE systems apprentices have also been offered to help doing community work on an upcoming Friday. I have been setting up an external Netball League with women who also work in BAE this is a live project which we aim to get up and running soon! There is a gym on site and also a social club so plenty to get involved with.
9. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend?
It is a brilliant apprenticeship, and when you are in your placements you don't actually feel as if you are an apprentice, you feel like a full time employee with the amount of responsibility you are given (the right balance of responsibility). There are lots of different things to get involved with in and outside the company. There is always work to be getting on with therefore; this makes the days go really quickly rather than being sat with nothing to do like other apprenticeships/work experience i have seen elsewhere.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems?
I would give people the advice to sell themselves, put all your qualities down when applying for the scheme but also show that you have all these qualities once you are there. I would give people the advice of being confident in themselves to show what they could contribute to a growing company like BAE systems. If you were applying for the scheme I would recommend expressing the fact you would like to get involved with what BAE can offer, gaining all the experience of the working world and grabbing hold of any opportunities offered to you.
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