1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am training to become an Electrical Engineer at Rolls-Royce. This means I am constantly exposed to new challenges and, as I move around the business from department to department, am constantly tasked with solving problems myself. Dealing with customers (both internal and external) is a large part of completing my day-to-day tasks; along with taking responsibility for projects and pioneering innovation as a young face at the company.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Alongside a Foundation Degree (sponsored by the company), I am studying for an NVQ Level 4. This is a way of gaining another professional qualification whilst documenting the work I carry out on the apprenticeship - it's a win win! Rolls-Royce also put me through a lot of training courses not directly relating to my job but my personal integrity, such as "Drive Safe Arrive Safe" or "Financial Skills" which help outside of work.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Whilst the first year was completely training and a little slow, having completed this year and migrated into the business I can appreciate why this is a necessary part of the apprenticeship and am now enjoying myself a lot. The work I do is challenging and real, the teams I work for are overwhelmingly supportive, and I come into work every day wanting to do a good job with the knowledge that I will be recognised.
4. How valued do you feel by Rolls-Royce?
Joining as an apprentice, I had my doubts about how valued I would be to a team. However, apprentices form a vital part of the company structure and without us, there would be an immense strain on the full-time employees and contractors. Thus, my work and efforts are always appreciated and I feel extermely valued.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
This could improve - the organisation is a bit "reactive". In first year, our training plans would frequently be a mismatch for what we were being expected to do which lead to confusion. However, this improved as the year progressed and I am aware this is no longer the case. Plenty of support and a better training plan means I can't really criticise.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My experience at the University of Derby was not great. We were the first batch of new apprentices to start our FdEng there, and they were not ready for us - nor did they appear to appreciate we are working a lot of the time. I feel disadvantaged compared to full-time university students but my ability to bring my issues to work and discuss with experts in the field of engineering means I'm at the top of my class anyway.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Wonderful. Good manager, supportive HR teams, wonderful business mentor and training coordinator and there's always someone to go to if struggling with something.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
First year was tough and I had no spare cash to put towards savings if I wanted to live comfortably - particularly with social costs and living away from home. However, following my first pay rise (9 months in) everything has become much better and now am doing quite well for myself - particularly if I compare myself to some of my friends at university...
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Lots. We have a dedicated company committee that arranges days out such as go-karting, bowling, golf, cinema trips etc. There are also lots of sports teams and the introduction of Yammer (a bit like Facebook for RR employees only) means that it's easy to find people with similar interests as you!
9. Would you recommend Rolls-Royce to a friend?
Wonderful employer, lots of support and generous pay packages. They have a drive to improve their workforce and have said they will support me in becoming a Chartered engineer if it's something I want. Not many companies will do that.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Rolls-Royce?
If you have no passion for what you do, don't apply. It's imperative that you have some interest in what you will be doing as this will soon be what drives you to turning up every morning and doing a good job. Show passion, enthusiasm and willingless to learn (the last of which is the most important) and you will find the application process a breeze. Good luck!
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