1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
The first year is college based, where you attend Kingston College from Monday-Friday completing a level 2 NVQ in Performance Engineering Operations. Here you learn the basics of hand fitted exercises, machining, and electrical work. The remaining three years are spent on site at Heathrow airport working a shift pattern of 2days2nights4off. (Excluding the one day a week that you spend at college to gain your Level 3 NVQ and further studies). You move around the airport periodically giving you a broad knowledge of the airport as a whole and an idea of which area you would like to specialise in should you be offered a job at the end of your apprenticeship.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt an expanse of new skills during my time at college and at the airport. Having come from a background of little relevant knowledge to engineering prior to joining the scheme I now feel confident in a lot of different areas and would be happy completing routine tasks unsupported.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy this apprenticeship at Heathrow Airport and can not recommend it enough. If you are looking for a first job or a change in career then Heathrow offers a comprehensive apprenticeship that allows you to learn a broad variety of skills before specialising. For example, if you are considering a career in a trade but do not know which one you will get to experience a little of each to help you decide.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is fairly well structured, although I do not have much to compare it to. The outcome is laid out for you early on so that you have an idea of what you need to have achieved by the end of your four years, although daunting it is achievable and guidance is on hand to get you through. There are elements that I believe to be outdated, but I believe that the programme is being looked at and alterations are being made.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
There is plenty of support on hand to complete your apprenticeship, however you may need to ask for it. Periodic checks are made on your progress to ensure that you are on the right track, but you can go long periods of time without seeing your apprentice manager whilst working shift or in full time college. Support is given from colleagues on shift and previous apprentices also.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The qualifications achieved through college help towards your overall subject knowledge, which gives you a better understanding in your job, helping you perform better in your role. Although there are some aspects that you learn at college that are unlikely to feature in your job role it is still good to gain the basic knowledge to provide you with a strong foundation in all subjects.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
There are no set extra-curricular activities to get involved in at the airport, however there are occasional events run that you can choose to take part in. For example a charity walk, run, or other similar activities. I have also seen requests for football teams, but I have never taken part in any.
9a. Would you recommend Heathrow Academy to a friend?
I believe Heathrow Engineering provides one of the best apprenticeships out there at the moment. Before applying for this apprenticeship I spent a lot of time researching possible options and for me this far outweighed the rest. So much so, that this was the only one that I applied for. It provides you with a vast amount of knowledge, builds your confidence, teaches you life skills and welcomes you in to a community that is full of opportunities. It is also competitively paid (starting salary of approx. £16k increasing each year), which was vital for me as a career change rather than a young adult straight from school.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Heathrow Academy?
My best advice for those wishing to apply is to do your research. Come to our Careers Fairs, ask for work experience, look at our company values etc. It is a competitive scheme and there are many of us who were unsuccessful on our first attempt, so don't put all of your eggs into one basket. However the process (as it stands) is pretty much the same each year, so if you are unsuccessful the first time, learn from it, ask for feedback and work on that for the next year.
More from Heathrow AcademyMore Reviews Company Profile
Get personalised jobs straight to your inbox
Save time job hunting - get tailored job opportunities sent straight to you!