1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role is as an electrical and mechanical apprentice. I rotate between being mentored by someone electrical and someone mechanical. When being mentored by somebody mechanical, my day to day experience involves mechanical maintenance on machinery, valves, pumps, vehicles, cranes and more.
When being mentored by somebody electrical, my day to day experience involves electrical maintenance such as changing lamps, learning about electrical authorised persons, and maintenance on other electrical systems.
I also take part in the rescue team as part of and in addition to my apprenticeship. This give me opportunities to take part in jobs I would have otherwise missed out on such as rope work, confined space entry, and responding to medical emergencies.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I recently completed a British Standard course in rope work, equivalent to IRATA level 1. This certifies me to safely work on ropes meaning I can now take part in very interesting work tasks.
My company has also supported me in signing up for a whole range of courses to develop and increase my range of skills.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
My enjoyment of my programme has increased starting my second year and taking part in work tasks. The programme for the first year was not as organised as I hoped and expected, however the providers have been receptive of feedback and are continuously making improvements.
Currently I am greatly enjoying my programme. I have a mentor who explains things in great detail and teaches me a lot. He is also easy to and enjoyable to talk to.
My enjoyment of the programme has also been helped by my involvement in the rescue team.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The organisation and structure of my programme has been continuously improving. My company has been trialling a new course for apprentices and there have been occasional problems, however through regular reviews and chats with my superiors, I have been able to provide feedback and there have been noticeable improvements in some areas.
The second year of my course is a great improvement on the first in most areas. I know what I am doing each day, I know where to be and when, and I have multiple people I can go to for advice. Where there could be improvement still (which has been fed back to my superiors) is the college days with CEMAST (Fareham College).
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer is very supportive of my training. My current training manager has put me forward for a number of courses that I have requested such as crane operation, cherry picker operation, and many others.
My rescue team manager has also put me on courses such as medium risk confined space, BS rope access, and others.
My employer is also supportive when it comes to dealing with issues involving the training provider and has actively looked and dealt with into complaints raised.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
There is currently very little noticeable input from Fareham College in the course except for college at their CEMAST campus one day a week.
Whilst I feel that 1 day of college and 4 days of practical work is more than sufficient, I feel that the quality of the support and education provided needs improvement. Issues with the course have been raised with my superiors and with representatives from Fareham College during reviews.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The education provided by Fareham College through CEMAST could do with a lot of improvement. Currently we have to spend more time learning how to answer the questions in the exam, than we do learning actual useful information.
Because the questions from the exam board are so vague and don't state exactly what they are asking, we have to spend time memorising what the questions are really asking on top of learning the information we need and want to learn.
I learn way more doing the practical work than is taught by the college.
Additionally, I feel there should be a way to not have to do the academic side of things if you can prove you already have the knowledge. For example, I already have a level 3 and a level 4 qualification in Marine Engineering. The on the job training is incredibly useful to me, however having to go back through basic maths is mind-numbingly boring.
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.)
For me personally I have been able to get involved in the Emergency Response Team which is something open to all BAE Systems employees after passing an interview and fitness test, however this is more similar to roles such as community responders and retained firemen rather than an extra-curricular activity.
There is also the almost non-existent apprentice council which holds occasional meetings, and the rarely there may be events that some people can attend.
But for most people, the answer is no.
9a. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend?
Overall, BAE Systems provides a very good quality training programme that can set somebody up for life. They provide a variety of schemes for people of all ages and levels of education, and support them to get educated as far as they are able to. I have already recommended BAE Systems a number of times.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems?
Take part in a project or create/design something. It doesn't have to be amazing, but it will give you something to talk about in the interview. If you have something you have created, bring it (or pictures of it) in to your interview.
I also strongly recommend attending BAE Systems open days which can provide you with a lot more information about the course.
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