Engineering Apprentice at DSTL

Start Date:
2016
Location:
Salisbury South West
Programme Type:
Apprenticeship - Advanced Level (Level 3)
Salary:
£14,684 annually
Review Date:
April 2018

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Review Score

5.9/10

1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:

7/10

Apprentice engineer, learning basic engineering skills and then specialising in electromechanical maintenance and construction. Half of the course is learning based at a training provider, and half is on the job work where we learn whilst working actively for the company. Large team of apprentices means it is social as well as vocational. Allows a view of the company and how it works within the Civil Service.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?

8/10

I have learnt all of my current engineering skillset from this course. I have had both external training from my training provider and internal training within the individual teams I have worked with whilst on work placements. I will qualify with a Level 3 NVQ and will immediately be an accredited EngTech with the IET. Additionally I have improved both my teamwork and leadership, as well as problem solving and project management.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?

5/10

I enjoy the programme to a certain extent. The training at the external provider has been dull, however this is due to the nature of the course and not due to the provider. The company is friendly and easy to integrate into, and the team is very welcoming. The staff I have met on placements have all been extremely keen to bring apprentices on within the business.

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4. How valued do you feel by DSTL?

7/10

Whilst the pay is poor, apprentices are valued by the business and by the teams that take apprentices on for placements. The team managers are fully invested in the team and bettering the opportunities available to the apprentices. When you work well, or go above and beyond, you are rewarded by the company, which makes you feel more important, even only in the apprenticeship role.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?

7/10

The programme is well laid out, with an even split between the initial training at the training provider, and the 18 months for the NVQ completion, which is undertaken at the business and within different teams to ensure a varied skillset. This also means the best fit can be found for each apprentice within the business, for when qualified.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?

2/10

The training provider offers the minimum support available. They are there to get us through exams, and do little else. Whilst there is a large amount of pastoral support, in terms of training support and educational needs, they cover the basics. It does get frustrating at times, when you have completed work ahead of schedule, or are finding the work boring/easy, that the provider doesn't then push you to do more fun/advanced work.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?

7/10

Far more than from the training provider. When on placement within the business, any and all questions are handled efficiently, and I've never felt that I was a burden or an irritation. Additionally, I have been offered many opportunities and proactive tasks to ensure I am engaged and improving constantly.

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7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?

2/10

The salary is very poor. Whilst I am an apprentice, I live away from home and as such pay rent and other bills the same as a regular employee. This means that I am left with very little, if any, disposable income, and does mean my life outside of work has suffered. Luckily, it is only for the short term, despite pay rises being low, once qualified, I will earn slightly more.

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?

8/10

Outside of working life, it depends entirely on whether you are on placement at homesite or detached duty. If at homesite, your personal life continues as normal, and there is lots outside of work to do in the area. If on detached placement, there is very little else to do, which can be disheartening. There are many social groups within the company designed to make newcomers feel welcome, and these groups do activities outside of work to better that social structure.

9. Would you recommend DSTL to a friend?

Yes

9b. Why?

The company is full of exciting opportunities and is stable. The social element is strong, and the sites are pleasant places to work at. There are many extra-vocational things to do, and the area is good to live in. The progression ladder is not as daunting as elsewhere, and this means that it is a good company to work in for the long term.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to DSTL?

Make sure to be honest, and push your strengths. Be prepared for some dull moments, but on the whole its enjoyable and rewarding. Go for it !

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