Exhaust Systems engineer at Jaguar Land Rover

Start Date:
Programme Type:
Degree Apprenticeship
£30,700 annually
Review Date:
April 2019

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Review Score

7.2 /10

1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


I work as an exhaust engineer within the Powertain department. I am responsible for project managing the exhausts for a specific project - generally a model line and year. We have a cradle-to-grave approach - so the start activities are designing a rough package that meets out internal requirements, before putting it out to tender with suppliers for business. Once the supplier has been sourced we work with them to refine the system . The system must be integrated with other components in the car, and past testing of its function, durability, cosmetic items etc. I meet with many functions in the business to integrate our systems robustly. With a design finalised and released (with drawings, CAD) and any virtual and physical testing complete the system is launched into the manufacturing plants on the car line launch, where the engineers will support with any issues. The system is supported through out its life with any warranty claims or issues in production right until it is superseded or replaced.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


I have learnt many skills within my job role as an exhaust engineer. Key ones for a project manager are creating and understanding timing plans, and knowing critical timing paths for projects. Engineering never runs smoothly, so you need to be aware of any potential delays if one item falls through, and how you can work around this. More recently I have trained to use our proving ground test track, and i am learning more procedures that we carry out when testing exhausts, such as off road capability tests or durability test cycles.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


I love my job role, however the college and university sections leave more to be desired. Organisation of both the college and university is poor, and you often end up with badly timed exams and assignments. Most of university is interesting, but some topics are very dull and sometimes even irrelvant. Many people have quit the apprenticeship because of this. I put up with it because I love my job so much and you can't argue with the pay and a free degree!

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4. How well organised/structured is your programme?


The programme organisation and structure is probably its weakest point. It never needed to be 6 years, it could have easily have been 5. There is definitely scope for it to be 4. 2nd year college is basically repeated as 1st year university, and arguably 2nd year college could be integrated into 1st year college. In the first year you get very rare placement weeks in your actual job, 2nd year you get 4 days a week in your job and years 3 onward you are in your job full time but with 6 weekly block release to University. The more time at work the better, so years 2+ are good.

5. How much support do you receive from your employer?


I have a dedicated mentor at work as well as my line manager, and I also have a further department apprentice training manager. This support is unbeatable, and whenever there is an issue there is always someone to escalate it for you. This support is not universal however, and i know some apprentices who have much less. There is a slight lottery on your experience based on the job role you apply for.

6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?


My learning provider employees a manager for my academic and apprenticeship side. These work-based learning managers are excellent and help to resolve some of the many issues we have with college/university. Unfortunately they have limited influence, and both the college and university can be poor to take on feedback or rectify mistakes. There are regular organisational disasters, and work is sometimes lost, mis-marked or marked with no feedback. The University is much better at correcting issues than the college.

7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?


Early on in the apprenticeship we learnt many practical skills that I didn't have (welding, turning, milling etc) that provided critical foundations for my engineering knowledge. A lot of the academic subjects such as electrical, materials and thermofluids provide good knowledge and understanding of real life concepts. Some subjects have little or no relevance at all. Subject choice at college is set according to your department which often means they haven't accounted for your specific job role. At university modules in 3rd & 4th year are chosen by you, which is good.

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.)


One of the downsides of the apprenticeship is the lack of any connection between apprentices. Some apprentices you will see on induction day and then never see again! Many of us set up our own unofficial activities such as karting, cycling or football, however there is nothing official. A group of apprentices are working to fix this, as the graduates in the company have a social forum. Luckily as there are so many apprentices living in the local area, you'll be sure to meet plenty outside of work as you go!

9a. Would you recommend Jaguar Land Rover to a friend?


9b. Why?

Overall the apprenticeship is a brilliant thing to be part of. It is unrivaled in terms of real-world job experience with the bonus of a free degree and a good salary. You need to be interested in engineering to do this however - those who just applied with no engineering interest because the pay was good have soon dropped out. You get what you put in - the harder you work and the more you push yourself outside your comfort zone at work, the more you are rewarded.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Jaguar Land Rover?

Show your passion for the role you are applying for, and any experience you have that may help you in it. Great academic grades are great, but Jaguar Land Rover wants to see your extra activities and interests that shows a hard working attitude and your passion. In the assessment days be confident, and if needs be take the lead in group activities. If you get something wrong then learn from it, but don't sit back and do nothing.

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