1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
The repair, development and design of electronic or electrical items or pieces of technology. I may need to do research and write reports on pieces of kit, as well as getting to test them, often to destruction. if equipment is faulty, it is my job to fix it. Many jobs involve working closely with other employees on non electrical aspects.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt many new skills, as when I started I had no electronic or electrical knowledge at all. I've learnt all about componentry and electrical principles, and have built on my existing mechanical and material knowledge. Other courses such as First Aid and Health and Safety courses have been provided.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the programme I am on very much. the work is varied and interesting, often cutting edge. The people around me are very knowledgeable and willing to teach, and very friendly. The company is very supportive and offers many benefits such as flexible working hours, making it easy to balance work and leisure.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The course is split in half, the first 18 months being all classroom based work. At this time you are based with the training provider. Here you learn the basics and build upon them. The second 18 months are all placements within the business. this means you are applying the knowledge you know on live projects going out to industry.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer is very supportive, both in terms of training and other aspects. When starting placement, you are assigned a mentor in the team, who is a senior employee with many years experience in the field you have joined. the company also offers flexi time, so you can work your own hours, and is happy to provide any extra training you feel you may need.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The training provider provides all the help needed within the first 18 months, and then whilst on placement in the remaining 18 months they are there only for your NVQ. i can email my NVQ assessor within any questions about NVQ evidence needed or the knowledge questions. 4 observations will be undertaken by the training provider whilst on placement to ensure you are on track with the work.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The training given in the first 18 months is designed for people with no electronic or electrical background at all. This means it is very helpful as you learn the underpinning knowledge before putting it into practice whilst on placement. It also teaches you practical skills such as how to solder correctly.
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.)
The company offers many extra curricular roles, and has a dedicated scheme for new starters to meet each other. This is ideal to find other people in the same boat as you, and means you can very quickly build up a network of contacts within the business, who you may never see due to working in different teams.
9a. Would you recommend DSTL to a friend?
The work is very interesting, and due to the nature of customers it is work that cannot be done in any other business. the benefits of working here include discounts available through the civil service, and a decent pension and flexible working hours. There is a range of support and employee health and wellbeing is top priority.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to DSTL?
the best advice to give would be that you don't need to have an extensive knowledge of engineering to join dstl. the main thing they are looking for is that you are keen and willing to learn. there are many different levels of apprenticeship you can join at as well.
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