1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Battery cell testing, characterisation, autopsy and supplier validation. This involves receiving samples of cells with potential for BEV and PHEV applications (MHEV and HEV is another role), running a suite of tests to both validate supplier claims and fill it any blanks for the data set required to make an informed decision. Following this, running analysis on said data to compare it against other suppliers and finally autopsying any cells that failed during testing to ascertain whether it was us or the manufacturer who caused the cell to under-perform.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Yes, I can now independently test battery cells, analyse the data and am learning to teardown and diagnose cells post failure. Essentially supporting cell characterisation from cradle to grave. This comes jointly with a better ability to prioritise workloads, work with suppliers and lab technicians and generally manage complex workflows when multiple suppliers need validating.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Mostly, often senior management are unreasonable in their requests, and university can sometimes seem irrelevant and dull. However, all-in-all I'm happy.
The programme itself offers a lot of flexibility if you look for it. It can be quite easy to sit and be told what you're doing when, but there are plenty of opportunities to mix it up and try new things if you ask the right questions to the right people.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Relatively well. The programme has since changed for newer intakes - much for the better really. Being shortened in length and with a more targeted approach as opposed to the original "Applied Engineering". The initial stages of Fd. Degree were utterly pointless, but the BEng has been much more productive and professional in its execution.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Plenty, when deadlines allow. The business comes first at times. My manager in particular is well aware of my role as an apprentice and allows time for me to do assignments and has even pointed me in the direction of colleagues who might be able to support me in completing them.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
Tutor dependent, most at WMG are quick to respond and happy to help. Others, not so much. The virtual learning environment (VLE) is a fantastic tool that is kept up-to-date as far as I've experienced. The VLE often has answers to most questions and makes assignment management much, much easier.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
Not at all. Applied Engineering is far too broad a topic to actually support my work, especially after being in-role for nearly 4 years. Any basic knowledge was learnt on the job and developed over time, any modules that seemed relevant during selection haven't covered anything more than my colleagues taught me before I took the module. It's been more than frustrating.
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.)
Nope, but that's my choice. There are opportunities but they're not forced upon you (like P.E. at school was). I do find this is team dependent, the business doesn't offer any convenient channels to organise these things that I'm aware of and any socials have been organised by a member of the team with a bright idea.
9a. Would you recommend Jaguar Land Rover to a friend?
Good pay, free degree, industry experience. Great for new starters and learners. JLR heavily supports initial growth and development. However, there seems to be a lack of appreciation for longer standing members of the company who rarely are given time to explore other areas or develop in fields adjacent to their own. Do the Apprenticeship, or Graduate Schemes; they work great for anyone.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Jaguar Land Rover?
Willingness to make things happen, you'll get nothing if you don't push for it. The company can be very reactive, it's on you to be proactive. An interest in cars isn't necessary at all, you'll pick up an appreciation for how they work as you go. There are plenty of fields so far removed from cars that you'd never know you worked for an automotive firm.
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