1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an electrical engineering apprentice undertaking a Level 3 Qualification. I am currently in my second year and I am about two months away from finishing at my training provider, QinetiQ limited. Therefore, at the moment I am training at QinetiQ limited; learning electrical theory and engineering hand skills to become competent - so that I can go out into the business once I have completed my exams.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
During my time on the apprenticeship scheme, I have learned various new skills and also developed skills that I have learned in my own time. For example, I have entered myself for various competitions where I have been working in a competitive team environment, something which I would not have done before my apprenticeship. Moreover, I have also developed electrical skills such as soldering and machine skills.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy my program, and I feel like I have already gotten a lot out of it. I have developed my skills massively already and developed myself too. However, sometimes my time at the training provider can be a bit slow, which is to do with organisational changes within the training provided and does not reflect on my time with the apprenticeship provider.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My program is quite well structured, having 18 months at the training provider (QinetiQ Limited) and another 18 months within the organisation (DSTL), where I am on various placements in order to develop myself and my knowledge of the organisation. We also have exams during the program and been had the opportunity to get other qualifications such as IOSH. I am happy with this structure, although we were supposed to be at the training provider for 16 months and therefore have had a longer time on placement.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a lot of support from my employer, as we have regular check-ins with both my training provider line manager and also my line manager DSTL. This means that I receive plenty of support and I am able to raise any concerns to both line managers if I feel I have an issue. There are also events held by DSTL to allow us to network with people within the business.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I receive decent support on the whole from my training provider. We are given all of the work equipment we need and the standard of safety is high. However, there are times where the support has been lacking, where tutors have left the organisation and resulted in lesson being missed - meaning that we have had to do further revision and spend extra time preparing for exams.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I am confident that my qualification will help me to perform better in my eventual role within DSTL. As my main interest is in electronics, I find it great that my qualification fits in perfectly with the placements that I have applied for. In addition to this, I have also attained additional qualifications from my training provider which I believe will further help me to perform better in my role.
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.)
I have been to a number of extra-curricular activities during my time at DSTL. For instance, I have been to awards ceremonies and had the opportunity to speak to individuals higher up in the business such as the CEO and Head of Division. I have also done events such as RIAT 2018 (RAF100) and met members of the IET, as well as being fortunate enough to participate in the Tom Nevard Memorial Competition.
9a. Would you recommend DSTL to a friend?
I believe that the apprenticeship scheme offers a great pathway both into DSTL and also into the defense industry as a whole. I feel that even though I am an apprentice I have already had an impact within the business and I feel like the opportunities that the scheme gives are second to none.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to DSTL?
I would say that you have to have an interest in defense and that during the applications process you mention any outside hobbies or interests or anything you have learning in your own time, such as coding in Python for example. I would also say that during the interview try not to be too nervous and answer the questions to the best of your ability. Also, make sure to put your name forward for events often and make a good account of yourself to get a good reputation within the business.
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