1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an Instrument apprentice, which means I work on the gas terminal calibrating and fixing instruments that are used to view temperature, pressure, flow etc. that are used by the production department to run the site safely. It is also an important job because our instruments are also used to calculate the gas we produce so are important for the money side of the company too. I also sometimes get projects to find a replacement instrument by talking to suppliers or to make a test rig that can be used by younger apprentices to practice on. You also complete a log book sometimes to write down what you are learning and make sure you learn the theory behind what you are doing so you are constantly learning.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt all about instrumentation and how to calibrate them. You are constantly building your communication skills as you have to communicate with others on site to help with jobs or suppliers to get materials/equipment that you need. You also go on many training courses such as Small bore tubing, confined space, offshore survival that are all good learning
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The team I work with are very good and are always eager to help me learn and make sure I understand what is going on. There are days when not much is happening that can be a bit boring and days at college when we don't learn much that is relevant to the job but there are other days when there is a lot going on and you learn lots and are busy which are the days I enjoy most
4. How valued do you feel by Centrica British Gas?
Not very valued by the company as a whole because the organisation of the apprenticeship program is not very good and there have been many changes to who is in charge and the person in charge now I haven't actually met. But the team I work with on a day to day basis, I feel valued by them and feel a valuable part of the team ready to help with whatever they need me to help with.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Not very well (as stated in above question (q4)) There is a rough structure of when we go to college and when at work and what we do each year, but the extra stuff like the training courses and going for a trial offshore are not organised for us when they have been in previous years meaning we have to do it ourselves.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
They are there to help when we ask for it, but they are not pushing us to make sure we are getting done what needs to be done really (on the NVQ side). But the HNC providers are good and help to make sure we are on target and will be able to get the best scores we can
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Other than the instrument department, there is not too much support. The leadership of the company are interested in what we are doing but it's hard to talk to them about problems for them to fix. But the team lead and the team (especially past apprentices) are happy to support me in everything
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
It meet all the costs I need. We get paid much more than the national apprenticeship wage, enough to live on well and the company pay you back for any expenses you have when you go on training courses (i.e. accommodation/food). There is also the availiability to get any college resources you might need. Some past apprentices also got a perk of being able to pay for a laptop on finance that comes out of their wage each month.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are company dinners (always one at Christmas) that are funded by the company which are fun. There are also department do's every now and then which is a good opportunity to get to know people you work with better. There is also the opportunity to get take part in awards (such as apprenticeship awards) that the company are keen for you to take part in.
9. Would you recommend Centrica British Gas to a friend?
My friends don't live nearby so it is quite a travel when there are other opportunities nearby as well. It is also a limited job role where I work at the gas terminal due to the lifetime of the gas fields. But I would encourage them to go into engineering and to get an apprenticeship if they can because it is a great way to learn and get lots of experience (and the company pay for it all!)
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Centrica British Gas?
Make sure you know about the job and what you are applying for as I did not know much about the company and my job role before I started but was glad that I enjoyed my job when I got round to doing it (once I had had my first year at college). Also, it is a good idea to have a bit of a portfolio about yourself and your achievements so when they ask you at an interview to tell them about yourself you can just go through your portfolio which includes lots about you and gives them a good picture of who you are.
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