1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
The Sellafield Ltd Degree Apprenticeship is a 5 year scheme where you are able to gain experience in industry whilst studying towards a Bachelors degree. As a CE&I Design Engineer Degree Apprentice I will come out of the Apprenticeship with my BEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I get rotated on numerous placements over the 5 year scheme. This enables exposure to different specialist areas in the CE&I discipline so by the end of the Apprenticeship you have a broad experience and can be multi-skilled so that your options are open post the Apprenticeship when deciding where you would like to sit in the business. The work varies day to day but overall as a design engineer you contribute to the Sellafield Ltd Project Execution by completing design work for the Sellafield Ltd Site.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
My technical skills have developed massively since the start of the Apprenticeship, I believe the main reason for this is working and studying at the same time. The academia I learn in the classroom based environment helps to heighten my understanding of work based engineering problems and solutions, and vice versa, the knowledge gained in industry helps me to visualise how my academic learning in the class room is used in the real world, this makes me understand the technical aspects of the job quicker and more effectively. On a day to day basis my communication, team work, leadership and organisation skills are being constantly improved. This is through every task I complete; working in a multidisciplinary team, communicating to the supply chain, building customer relationships, delivering STEM events and so on. These are skills which full time class room learning can limit. The Degree Apprenticeship trains you to act professional and maximise your productivity and people skills, that set you up for the rest of your working life.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Choosing a Degree Apprenticeship was the best decision I have made, it is a continued journey of growth and self development to be your best possible self, it offers endless opportunities for you to get involved in and builds your confidence in the workplace. I enjoy everyday of the journey and feel privileged to have been given an opportunity that will give me all the foundations required for a successful career in Engineering.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The Degree Apprenticeship Scheme at Sellafield Ltd is relatively new, I am the 2nd year intake on the scheme. The education is broken down into your HNC/HNC and then a 2 year top up degree, also there are 27 competencies that we have to meet to pass the Apprenticeship, all of the requirements and expectations were outlined to us from day 1 and since then there have been multiple workshops to talk more in depth about the scheme as we get further into it, so that any questions we have are answered. Overall well structured and well organised.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
At the start of the apprenticeship you are given a buddy, a mentor, an apprenticeship coordinator and a line manager, each playing roles of support to you throughout the whole of the apprenticeship. There is always somebody to talk to, if ever you are struggling to talk to one of the above there is the support of other apprentices on the scheme and other engineers in the workplace which are always there for you if ever you need anything. Sellafield Ltd as the employer are heavily involved in the apprenticeship and are always asking for regular feedback if anything can be improved.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The degree is sponsored by UCLAN however we study at Wigan and Leigh College, Sellafield Ltd and Wigan and Leigh College have a strong relationship and direct communication links. My experience to date, if ever I have had an issue with my academics I have followed protocol to raise any issues higher so that the college and Sellafield are aware and can work strongly together to advice and solve any problems.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My engineering degree that I am studying towards creates the technical knowledge I need to understand the work in my role. Although the work in my role does not cover all areas in my academic studies, the basic principles of the qualification builds the foundation that in industry can be applied to real world problems. For example all of the calculations I study in Electrical and Electronic Principles are unlikely to appear in my work, this is because the work in my role is specific to industry. However, the practice of studying those calculations enables me to pick up calculations fast in work and betters my problem solving skills.
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.)
There are endless extra-curricular activities to get involved in. I am in my second year and already I have been involved in the following role and events: STEM events, Apprenticeship Socials, Sellafield Ltd Big Bang Fair Team Lead, Sellafield Ltd Big Band Project Manager, Northern Powerhouse Apprentice Panel Member, IET Merseyside and Cheshire West Local Network Young Professionals Group Co-Chairman and many more. If you want exposure to any extra activities as long as you show willing the company will continue to go out of their way to provide you with them. It has been incredible to date for my Career Professional Development which will help me so much when it comes to professional registration.
9a. Would you recommend Sellafield Ltd to a friend?
Sellafield Ltd is a company which will support your career the whole way, that includes changing your career further down the line and supporting extra curriculum training, events and qualifications. The company has good values, support systems and employee benefits. The experience gained in Sellafield Ltd on the degree apprenticeship is priceless, it is great for networking and you will never be short of work. The scope of the work is also rewarding as your role in the company is helping the future of the country.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Sellafield Ltd?
I would advise the applicant to go on the Sellafield Ltd Work experience scheme, this helps them to understand the business more and the different work that is involved in each engineering discipline. I would also talk about anything extra you are involved in whether that is a hobby, an achievement or an extra curricular activity, anything that the applicant has besides there academic studies are the factors which will help them to stand out against their competition.