1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role as a Nuclear Higher Apprentice varies day-to-day depending on the placement I am in at the time. Often daily tasks include liaising with different departments across the business as well as different employees, attending shift handovers and progressing work on major projects. My responsibilities can range from quite high level to remedial secretary work depending on how busy the work is that day. I find some work can be a little tasking or boring but overall it's very enjoyable.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt many personal and professional skills since starting my apprenticeship through day-to-day interactions with managers, tradesmen and fellow Higher Apprentices. As part of my apprenticeship I have been studying for a HNC in Mechanical Engineering, an NVQ Level 4 and will soon begin studying for my BEng in Mechanical Engineering. In addition, I have also been involved in a number of internal training courses related to my specific area of work.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Overall I enjoy the scheme and feel that there is a lot to learn throughout the 3 years of the apprenticeship. However, the quality of the time in work can be affected by the quality of each individual placement - but this is practically an unavoidable issue as different types of work suit different people. I think that there are parts of the apprenticeship which could be improved however overall im really happy with how i have progressed and how as a whole, the apprenticeship has gone.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
Overall I would say this is dependent on each placement and the type of work/responsibilities I am given. Overall I would say my work is appreciated from my Managers and there is a degree of internal recognition towards the Nuclear Higher Apprenticeship scheme. More often than not the Higher Apprentices across the business are viewed as a hard-working, friendly group of young people. I think that realistically the company really understands their employees and takes care of them well.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Overall the programme is well run and there is always support from the relevant departments whenever any issues regarding training, studying, mentors etc. arise. The induction into the business was a little tedious but once I settled in, the programme was very well run and I felt part of a greater scheme. I, overall think that BAE Systems has a very structured layout as i have seen from the apprenticeship as well as looking round the business.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Whenever I have an issue in work that cannot be resolved in placement my 'training provider' is always happy to provide support. They are always easily accessed and have a great attitude towards dealing with any problems. This is one of the strongest points of the scheme to always have somebody who is willing to help and solve any problems you may have. I think that there is always room for improvement but i am more satisfied with the help i have received.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My line manager, Mentor and Placement managers are all very helpful and have a great attitude towards helping me out if I have any issues. They are always accessible and do a great job of providing guidance to any issues that arise. If I have any issues with pay, the scheme etc. they wil always try and rectify the issue as soon as possible. I think that finally, the support is well above par however as previously stated, there is always room for improvement.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary meets all my living costs and has allowed me to save a good sum too. I am lucky as I have not had to move house to work at BAE Systems so I can avoid paying rent or paying a mortgage. The pay increase we receive every six months goes a long way to achieving this. The salary compared to other BAE Systems workers is fairly low however as an apprenticeship wage it is generally really good and i am happy to be getting it as it does just about cover my monthly outgoings so although its difficult to save i can just about save monthly.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are various company events and activities that I have an opportunity to take part in. Outside of work there are various gyms/social clubs/sports clubs that I am a part of so life outside work is very good. In addition, the lake district is a half hour drive away so this is a great area to work. I think all the clubs and sports activities are a good idea as well as the local community opportunities as well. I like to do charity work every so often and we hear about ways to do this too.
9. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend?
Often Sixth Form and College students are led to believe that there is only one path after A Levels: University. This scheme is the perfect counterargument to this point. In a nutshell, the scheme is well-run, offers the opportunity to 'earn while you learn' and at the end of the scheme I will have 3 years work experience and, if all goes well, an end role in the business. I think that it's well worth anybodys time to apply and put their all into it.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems?
Be aware that, once you have got past the online application stage and have been invited to an assessment day, everything that you have done (including grades, online questions etc.) will not contribute to your score on the day. Treat the assessment day with the attention it requires and don't rest on past successes. I think that if anyone tries their hardest and fully gives 100% of commitment to this apprenticeship role and company it will shine through and be seen.
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