1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
For the first year I am based full time at Derwentside College in Consett. At the college we are required to complete a level 2 based around the workshop, and start a level 3 course. Derwentside college have also given opportunities to start studying HNC early during this time. After the first year we are based on site at Cummins Darlington, with one day a week at college to complete our qualifications.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
As a first year apprentice I have mainly been based at Derwentside College, which has provided training in the fabrication workshop doing welding; in the electrical workshop wiring motors and circuits; and in the mechanical workshop working on bench fitting and machining skills. We have also spent time on site in which we have been shown how engines work, and experienced small amounts of the departments that we will be in later.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The engineering apprenticeship programme provided by Cummins is very interesting as you get to experience a variety of departments, meaning that you get a good overview of what Engineering goes into making Cummins work. The college work is also interesting, especially the HNC material which is largely based around applications that the theory in the course can be used for.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The first year of the apprenticeship is full time at the training provider, and therefore you spend the full academic year following the college timetable. For the first year you will be on site through the academic holidays, and it will vary where you can go. This can sometimes feel slightly disorganised as you don't have anything to aim for wherever you end up during this time, however it is a good chance to learn as much as possible before you are based on site full time.
Within the first year whilst you are at college you will be provided with a rotation plan, which details when you will be in each rotation throughout the apprenticeship, along with a skills matrix that provides the details of what you should cover whilst you are there. The rotation plan also shows who your review meetings are with. Review meetings are held with various managers around the site, and are once a month for the first year and then every month afterwards. These are excellent opportunities to raise any concerns you have, as well as getting support and guidance, as well as a networking chance.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
For the first year of the apprenticeship you have monthly review meetings, and after this they happen every other month. These meetings are 1-to-1's with various managers around the site, and are a chance to raise concerns, receive guidance, and network.
The HR team, led by a HR graduate, is very helpful if you have any concerns, and Cummins have a global network for reporting any situations.
Through each rotation you shadow various people, and there are also lots of older apprentices who can give help based on what they have experienced and had to do.
All of the staff that you work with on your apprenticeship are generally very helpful, as there is a good understanding of apprenticeships.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
Whilst working towards your qualifications you will have a tutor who you should meet with regularly. Whilst you are at college you can also speak to them at any time, as well as them being easily contactable by email. If you have any issues with the college then you can speak to your tutor and they will try to resolve them.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
Due to the nature of the qualification being such that the training provider has a certain level of choice of what units you complete, the programme that I am currently doing was tailored so that we are doing units chosen by our manager at Cummins. I think that the units do seem appropriate to what we will do on site, however I haven't experienced being on site much yet to know for certain.
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.)
Cummins runs a global community involvement initiative, and all employees are encouraged to do at least 4 hours of community activities a year, which there are lots f opportunities for. There is also a Social club which you can subscribe to for £1.50 a month, through which you can also enter a lottery for the site. There is also an on site gym, as well as a discount for the gym over the road from the site.
9a. Would you recommend Cummins to a friend?
Cummins provide a very good apprenticeship scheme compared to a lot of other employers in the area for multiple reasons: they provide a good number of rotations on the apprenticeship so that you experience a variety of skills; the other employees generally have a good understanding of apprenticeships and are very supportive and good at giving guidance; you receive good support throughout the apprenticeship; the pay is good compared to some apprenticeships locally.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Cummins?
The current application process requires a CV and covering letter, and you are then invited to an afternoon of dexterity and numeracy/literacy tests. If you do well here then you may then be invited to an academy run by the Derwentside College, where you spend a fortnight doing activities that are largely based around teamwork and presenting. The final candidates are then invited to an interview with staff from Cummins.
If you receive the job you will have to undergo a basic medical check before you start. Depending on the timing you may be able to go to onboarding, this is a week based at the Mercure Hotel in Darlington, where you learn about the company history and is a brilliant networking chance as there are new employees present from throughout Europe.
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