1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Job title- Non-Destructive Testing Engineer. Currently, I am working up practical hours on some of the Non-Destructive Testing methods such as Ultrasonic Testing and Fluorescent Penetrant Testing. This is to gain NDT Level 2 Certification in these methods. I also go on week long residential trips to Northampton University, where I am studying for a BEng (Hons) in Non-Destructive Testing. I work as part of a Laboratory team who support the processes which occur in the factory, taking part in improvement projects for the site processes.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The aim of my apprenticeship is to hold Level 2 Certification in all 5 of the main NDT methods: Ultrasonic Testing, Fluorescent Penetrant Inspection, Magnetic Particle Inspection, Eddy Current Testing and Digital Radiography. Also, I will gain Level 3 certification in at least one method. This will allow me to write programs and control the factory processes for NDT. All of these qualifications are gained from the South West School of NDT in Cardiff. As well as these qualifications, I am studying for a BEng (Hons) degree in Non-Destructive Testing at Northampton University. As well as those, I gain internal qualifications from training courses such as Presentation Skills and Health and Safety.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
So far, I am finding the work and study very interesting. The study is at a level where I am not feeling too much pressure at an early stage but is still intellectually stimulating. The Laboratory team have all been very welcoming and have supported me whenever I have needed it. The company culture constantly supports a positive attitude towards work. The daily work can sometimes become slightly mundane, but I understand that this is just because I need to gain a high number of practical experience hours.
4. How valued do you feel by Rolls-Royce?
I feel a valued member of the team at Rolls-Royce, both within my small Laboratory team and across the company. My line managers are all very helpful and organise regular reviews so I can understand my progress clearly. The company supports me with costs whenever I have to be away from home for work. I have also been asked to take part in a project to further my learning and experience.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The induction training was all organised very quickly within the first few weeks of my apprenticeship, this took place as part of an Outward Bound/Teambuilding week in Wales. The initial training at an external provider was not very well organised, however I believe this is more the fault of the training provider than of Rolls-Royce. All of the dates of my external training, study weeks and exams have been given well in advance. I feel there is support available for me from these providers. I have regular progress reviews with my Apprentice Development Leader.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Due to the nature of my University course (distance learning based) I do not have regular face to face contact with my lecturers and tutor. However, it has been stressed to me that I can contact them via email at any time if I need help with work. This is not a perfect arrangement, but it still provides enough support to suit my needs.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I get support from the Site NDT Level 3 whenever I need questions answered. The Laboratory manager also helps when I need it. The HR Team keep me informed of any announcements from the site or company. Everyone is eager to help whenever I need it. My Apprentice Development Leader is also easy to contact with any general questions or advice.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I had to relocate from Northumberland to Lancashire for my apprenticeship; as a result, I had to leave home and rent my own flat. This takes a significant chunk out of my wages, which along with personal travel and other costs become expensive. Everything is still covered by my wage. Whenever I work away from my site, all expenses are covered by Rolls-Royce.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is a Rolls-Royce Leisure Club at my site. This includes a discounted gym membership. Through the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, I can attend talks and conferences from experts in the field.
9. Would you recommend Rolls-Royce to a friend?
The course I am on is full of exciting prospects. I have been made to feel very welcome at work. I have enjoyed both the work and the study which I have taken part in so far. It is a great opportunity for me to gain both experience and qualifications in an interesting field of work, whilst getting paid too!
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Rolls-Royce?
Gain as much information on the apprenticeship you are applying to and the field of work it relates to. If you can understand the industry practice before you apply, you will be seen as more professional and will have more to talk about during interviews/assessment days. If you can, try to gain some experience in a relevant field of work before your interviews, this is in no way essential, but will give you more to talk about/impress people with during assessments and interviews. If you get to an assessment day, try to relax and be yourself, but remember you are being assessed at all times throughout the day, so stay professional.
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