1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Working on development projects that aim to increase efficiency or reliability of component inspections. Interacting with Subject Matter Experts and project stakeholders in order to complete projects to a high standard. Writing reports for the work and projects we carry out. Attending training courses to improve our knowledge and skills in NDT as well as other transferable skills required to carry out our job effectively.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
We are required to attend many training courses as part of the apprenticeship. We spend a couple of months in total on block release (one or two weeks at a time) at the Southwest School of NDT in Cardiff undertaking theoretical and practical training for each of the 5 main NDT methods (2x 1 week courses, 3x 2 week courses). These are new skills that most of us didn't have before attending the courses. For our degree, we attend Northampton University, also on block release, for 4 weeks of the year (1 week at a time), with the rest of the course being delivered as distance learning. We also attend training courses within the company such as Presentation Skills, Personal Financial Capability, Drive Safe Arrive Safe, and many more that develop existing skills that can be used both within our job role, but also in our personal lives. There are also training courses that we are required to complete before undertaking certain tasks or using certain equipment within the company, such as Basic Lifting and Slinging, which is required before using any cranes or lifting equipment, among many others.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I really enjoy my programme and believe it gives me the skills and knowledge required to have a long and successful career in Rolls-Royce, with many opportunities for progression. The people and teams I get to work with and meet are always very friendly and eager to help out/share their knowledge. The work is always engaging and varied, meaning it doesn't get repetitive or boring. The cultures encouraged by the company create an environment where I feel safe and empowered to challenge anything I do not believe is ethical or safe, as well as suggest areas for improvement and contribute my ideas in meetings. I do not feel as though I am treated like a stereotypical apprentice, but rather like any other staff member, with plenty of guidance where needed.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My programme is structured very well. There are many support systems in place to make sure I am progressing as expected and that I am not experiencing any issues of any kind. If there are any issues either at work or at home, the company seek to offer as much support as they can in order to ensure the issue can be resolved. Each apprentice has a dedicated Apprentice Development Leader who organises regular review meetings to check in on all these things. Tasks are delegated to us by our placement manager, but time management and how we schedule each detail of the task or project is left down to us, so that we can most efficiently split our time between placement tasks/projects, smaller jobs given to us by other members of the team, and studying/attending courses in order to complete everything within the deadline given.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
As an apprentice I receive a lot of support from my employer. My Apprentice Development Leader will schedule bi-monthly review meetings to check my progress and talk about any questions or problems I may have. If there are any issues at work or at home, the company will work with me to provide as much support as deemed necessary to rectify the issue. This could be anything from providing Additional Learner Support if I was struggling with progress, to offering time off of work if there was a serious issue outside of work, to offering counselling or other services in severe cases. In terms of day to day support, all my team members and fellow apprentices are always happy and willing to offer help and guidance when needed on particular work related tasks or projects, or if they cannot help themselves they will be able to point me in the direction of someone else who can.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
Our University training provider offers support in person within our lectures and time attending uni, as our lecturers are available to answer questions about the subjects or the course in general. When we are not at uni, we can email our tutors and course leader for support with studies, and can also arrange video conference style meetings for face-to-face support without having to wait until the next university visit (which are usually a month or two apart). Our NDT training provider (Southwest School of NDT) provides lots of support for the duration of the course, and allows us to take home the folders containing all the training material in-case we need to revisit it, however once the course is complete there is not any need for them to provide support, as we have support available from the team we are working in.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The NDT degree course helps me perform better in my role as it gives me a strong base knowledge of the physics and theory behind each technique I am required to use, as well as providing more general knowledge and theory about the engineering industry as a whole. It also teaches me about other areas such as materials science which I would not learn much about otherwise, but can be beneficial to understanding the purpose behind certain tasks or projects.
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.)
Rolls-Royce has an Apprentice and Graduate Association that organises events every month that any member can attend. Events include anything from social nights out, to Go-karting, to ski trips abroad. We also get the opportunity to attend NDT and engineering conferences and exhibitions, as well as sometimes helping to exhibit at these events, which is a great networking opportunity. There are also monthly meetings for the British Institute of NDT, where a short talk is held on a different NDT topic each month. This is also a good opportunity to network. Rolls-Royce also has various sports teams that compete in regional leagues and are open for any employee to join.
9a. Would you recommend Rolls-Royce to a friend?
The opportunity for career progression within Rolls-Royce is very prominent and it can be a career for life. Working for the company provides you with a lot of new skills, as well as further developing the skills you already have through many interesting and useful training courses, all paid for by the company. There are many opportunities to undertake a sponsored degree paid for by the company (especially if you choose a degree apprenticeship), as well as the opportunity to join professional institutes. The pay is very competitive. The quality and amount of support and benefits offered by the company is second to none. On top of all this, you will meet lots of new friends and like-minded people and there are plenty of opportunities for fun social events.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Rolls-Royce?
Make sure that the job or scheme you are applying for is something you are interested in and believe you will enjoy. Rolls-Royce is a very exciting and rewarding place to work but, as with any job, this is only true if you have an interest in your area and subject of work. Don't worry if you do not achieve perfect grades in school, Rolls-Royce understand that schools don't cater to all the different types of learners very well. They are more interested in what you are like as a person, your interest in the subject, your capability for continuous improvement, and your ability to learn in whatever style suits you best. Finally, do a little bit of research about the company before an interview or assessment day, Rolls-Royce's history is very important to them and showing an interest in the company as well at the subject will be well received.
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