1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
As a finance apprentice, i spend four days a week at work and one day a week at Oxford Brookes University studing towards a degree in Business Management and Communications. In the first 2 years of my apprenticeship,I am/will be undertaking different placements around the Businesses as to experience all of the different aspects and environments that make Plant Oxford. So far, around nine months into the apprenticeship programme, i have been on placements in Finance Controlling, Training (HR), On the Assembely Line for five weeks, in the offices that control, plan and monitor Assembely, the associate training department for assembely, and Purchasing.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have certainly learnt a great deal about the business and about how Businesses orperate in general through this apprenticehip.I feel that i have developed my communication and networking skills which are essential if you are to get the most out of the placements you are on. When in different placements, you learn a variety of new skills specific to that placement. For examples, negotiation skills are needed in purchasing when contacting suppliers, and skills with your hands are needed for when you are on the production line. So yes, i believe i have learnt new skills and developed current ones through this apprenticeship.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I really enjoy the apprenticeship. The combination of studying at university whislt working is great - Don't be put off by how much work it sounds like it will be. Placement Managers understand the amount of work you will have and if you need to do Univeristy work whilst in a placement, they can be very flexible if the work you are doing for thier department is not urgent. It is a great feeling to know that you are pushing yourself to the limit and doing things that other people would consider as being too much work or too difficult to do.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The apprenticeship is very organised and every business apprentice has a detailed plan in place for thier relative placements. However, this plan can often get forgotten or changed. I think the business takes care of us very well as mentioned in the above question. The BMW group are investing into me and that they believe that I am part of the company's future. The pay I recive for this apprenticeship is fantastic when you consider the other costs that BMW also cover such as the univeristy costs.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
As a Business Apprentice, we don't really need any support from BMW. The only time we need support/help is if we need time to write an essay at work, which is usually allowed if the work you are doing for that department is not urgent. I feel as though if we need any support then it is given to us but apart from this we aren't really asked if we're doing ok etc. which is nice to be independent but sometimes it feels as though we have just been left on our own accord really.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I feel very supported by the University. I study at Abingdon and Witney college, who are partners with Oxford Brookes University (It is an Oxford Brookes University Degree, not and Abingdon and Witney one.. it will only say 'Oxford Brookes' on the certificate). Currently, there are only a few people in my university class, meaning that you recieve the same level of attention and support that you would if you did A-levels or a college course where there was a small class size. However, sometimes when you email the lecturers, they can take a while to get back to you (1 week or so) over holiday periods. This, ofcourse, is usuall expected as people go away on holiday... however, they specifically said 'Contact me over the holidays if you need me, i will reply to you'.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I feel as though the work and exams i have taken at university definitely benefits me for working in the company. I feel as though the work can be very vague and not particularly specific to my job role however this is going to happen when doing a degree that's not directly orchestrated by the company. I really enjoy my course and i do think most of the work helps me with day to day work in the company.
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 aren't many opportunities outside of work to get involved in. For the opportunities that do arise, the participating apprentices are chosen, and it doesn't seem to be a random choise (The same people tend to get picked). Personally, i don't mind this because i am not too bothered about attending most of the events, however for people that would like to be involved, this could be very de-moralising.
9a. Would you recommend BMW Group to a friend?
BMW offers a fantastic opportunity for you to study/learn whilst earning a decent wage, gives you a fantasic name to add to your CV, you are able to drive a fantastic car which most people 17-25 would never be able to afford normally, and there is a real opportunity to develop a successful career within the company. I think that anyone of a younger age and who has just left school and unsure of what to do should look into apprenticeships definitely.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BMW Group?
Research the company, relax whilst taking any online tests (if applicable), relax when in the interview.. the interviewer is human too and are often very down to earth people, and give it your best shot - If you don't get the job, pick yourself up and try again next year and ensure you learn from any feedback or mistakes you may make. Overall just try enjoy it as much as you can and don't be disheartened if you don't get int on your first attempt. Good luck.
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