1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role is to provide analytical support for the plants on Sellafield site. This involves running samples for a variety of analytes such as UV-Vis spectroscopy and Ion Chromatography, this is for feedstock analysis, quality assurance and product specification. As well as this I have the opportunity to attend the apprentice council.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Within my role my analytical capability has improved, I am able to use a variety of instruments such as a UV-Vis Spectrophotometer, High pressure liquid chromatography, gas chromatography and ion chromatography. As well as this my interpersonal and communication skills have improved by being able to attend meetings and liaise with other apprentices and members of the apprentice team.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy my programme, the on-the-job training is well developed and I have the opportunity to undergo a range of activities. The apprenticeship side of it is very unorganised and the training provider doesn't work effectively and doesn't communicate well with us which can lead to frustrations. This is also prevalent at college which has made our programme suffer due to poor organisation and a lack of resources.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Both the apprenticeship and college side of the programme is extremely unorganised. For our apprenticeship we originally were on a five year course but after a year and a half we were told we had switched to a three year course, of which is ending in January. The apprenticeship provider (gen2) lacks any structure and the resources given to us to complete our apprenticeship are extremely inadequate leading to us struggling to complete the work required. College is also poorly organised, in the previous winter we were given our exam dates a week before the actual exams, and this was not communicated with our employer, we were juts expected to show up, work commitments were not considered. We also had an inadequate tutor, who was subsequently fired, who has lead to us now being 5 weeks behind in our practical skills module.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The support I receive from my employer is minimal. My team leader is unaware of the requirements of my apprenticeship so has little ability to help me achieve this. Both my apprentice coordinator and apprentice manager do little to help me if I am having any problems at college and any ways to address these issues isn't relayed back to me due to lack of communication.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The training provider gives us minimal help towards the qualification. We have meetings with our assessor once every three months and during this we constantly ask for guidance on how to produce our report for our qualification, this was only given to us after more than two and a half years after starting the apprenticeship. college wise, minimal help is also given to us, we are expected to teach ourselves the majority of the content and no exam preparation tools are given to us.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I believe completing the apprenticeship will not help me in the slightest within my job role, the apprenticeship revolves around completing tasks at work and relating them back to the apprenticeship standards. The degree side, so far within the practical skills module I have not learnt how to use any instruments so this has not helped me within my practical role. The theory side however allows me to increase my technical knowledge which can be applied to researching new methods and problem solving within 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.)
There is a large variety of extra-curricular activities to get involved in at work, the main being stem activities, as a stem ambassador you can get involved in activities in schools and/or the local area promoting the stem industry. There are opportunities such as the apprentice council and being a degree apprentice representative.
9a. Would you recommend Sellafield Ltd to a friend?
I believe that Sellafield Ltd is a great company to get involved in, there are many opportunities available for personal development as well as extra curricular activities to get involved in outside of your day-to-day role. Though the college and apprenticeship side is lacking I do thoroughly enjoy my actual job.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Sellafield Ltd?
Get involved with as many personal development opportunities as you can while being an apprentice. It gets your foot in the door for possible future roles and secondments. Make sure you know what you sign up for, apply for an apprenticeship that involves a subject you enjoy as it can be daunting if not.