1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
an electrical engineering apprentice, currently on placement in my 3rd year. I am currently working in a technical team, whose roles include analysing circuits boards that come in identifying components and how the circuit works to advise others. I also test and validate equipment to ensure that it works as it should, writing reports and creating facsimile devices.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have developed and furthered my knowledge of electronic systems, as well as developing my practical skills with things such as soldering, building circuits, competently using tools, nodal analysis. I have also developed my communication skills, learning how to communicate effectively in a team knowing how to listen and convey ideas to aid the team.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy my program there are lots of opportunities to learn and develop my knowledge, the work is very interesting as well. However the program is slow at times, during my first year we were at a training provider and after completing exams there was very little to do and work was a bit tedious. Now I am on placement its has improved.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
There is a structure to the program, I know what I am doing and what I have to do to complete the apprenticeship. The organisation of my first year at the training provider wasn't great, it took ages for thin to get marked, and a lot of time there was nothing to do. Now on placement it is much better.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a good amount of support from my employer. There was more support in my first year but that was down to the training provider, I still receive a lot of support now from my placement mentor and my line manager with regular reviews and catch ups. On the whole, the support given is good and my team leaders are always able to provide advice and guidance when needed.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
Whilst at the training provider I didn't enjoy my time that much, although I met loads of great people. The first few months were good, but after we learnt all the theory there wasn't much work to do, work also took ages to be marled due too teachers leaving.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The training provider did lay the foundation for electrical engineering knowledge, for me to further develop my skills. Whilst there I learnt to solder, assemble circuits, analyse circuits and components also learnt basic hand skills and health and safety which has allowed me to perform better in my role in a variety of ways.
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 a number of extra-curricular activities that I get involved in at work. The main ones is the football team, external engineering competitions of which apprentices are invited to. As well as this, there is also the opportunity to attend careers fairs and represent DSTL and the apprenticeship scheme at a whole host of events both external to DSTL and internal.
9a. Would you recommend DSTL to a friend?
I think the scheme is a great opportunity to get into the defence industry and really make a difference. It also opens a whole host of opportunities within DSTL, such as going on to a full-time role at the end and also becoming part of the graduate scheme and getting a HND or even a degree paid for by DSTL.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to DSTL?
My advice would be to ensure that you come into the organisation with an open mind, as it does have a historically negative reputation, and also to be as honest as possible in your application. Also ensure that you have a keen interest in engineering and defence, as these are what the organisation is centred around.
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