1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Engineering apprentice. I design and make circuits, as well as: fault finding, computer diagrams, some maintenance and software use. Work closely with supervisor and apprentice mentor, as well as rest of team who each have their own projects. I have one project that I am working through where I am in charge of the power supplies.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have mainly been developing my existing skills within the electrical engineering spectrum. I have also done a small amount of computer coding as well as working with new design software that I had not previously used. I have gained a broader understanding of how some electronics/components work that is beneficial to my job. There is also the opportunity for me to go on courses related to what I'm currently doing.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy being in the business and feeling that I am actually a part of something that will be used in the end. I enjoy being treated as an adult by my team and feel that I am learning useful things that will benefit me in the long run and will help me to perform my role better.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel that the structure of my programme could be a little better. The transfer from the training provider to the business was not smooth and resulted in a lot of hassle. There is also poor communication between the business and the training provider, so we are at times unsure of where we stand.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a fair amount from my employer and I know that there is a programme that is available for assistance if you need it, that can help with mental health issues, general health and finance worries. This programme is advertised at DSTL and currently has an apprentice representative that sits on their board.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I do not feel that we have received good enough support from our training provider. They continuously failed to inform us of changes and went through several changes of management that severely impacted the quality of instruction that we received at the training provider. Currently there is one person from the training provider who is in charge of all the electrical apprentices and as such is incredibly busy, and can take time to respond to queries.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I feel that without the training provider I wouldn't have any knowledge in what I'm doing as I was completely new to it. However, there were many holes in the training and options that weren't covered in favour of things that were not necessary to our role as it stands, or to our knowledge set. Because of this there are many areas that I feel I should be more advanced in in order to help my team more, but lack the know-how.
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.)
The same programme that runs the assistance also sets up events that are advertised to people within DSTL. There are also several sports teams at DSTL that run over lunch breaks or after work that people are able to join; such as rugby and football. As apprentices I am not certain of professional networking events, but my team does have social outings.
9a. Would you recommend DSTL to a friend?
The work hours are flexible, as long as you get your 37 hours a week in and meet deadlines then you are ok. There is also varied and interesting work that is available and so far I have really enjoyed my placement. It is also work that could go on to make a difference within the MoD, which is satisfying.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to DSTL?
Experience from all walks of life can be beneficial to DSTL as it has so many departments and functions that there is always a possibility that your back ground fits in. Run through example interview scenarios before attending to have an idea of answers to questions that you might get.
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