1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role involves testing samples and reporting the data so that any chemical reaction hazards can be identified. My daily tasks include, calibrations to ensure equipment is working correctly, carrying out competent testing and writing up the results accurately. I also get involved with projects which allow me to interact with other departments on site.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have developed my time management and organisational skills while doing my apprenticeship as I have had to balance a full time job role as well as completing my qualifications. I have also been on training courses through work to help with my technical ability, such as Swagelok training and how to present in a meeting.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I really enjoy my job role, and the support I had from my co workers while completing my apprenticeship was great. If I ever needed any help everyone tried their best to help with what they could. I find the work that I do enjoyable as it is varied and I never find I am bored of something.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I found that the first two years on my apprenticeship were very structured and really great for helping me settle in and complete my BTEC. However, I found the support from college with my NVQ wasn't great, and felt it wasn't structured great as I had to move to OneFile halfway through but it wasn't set up properly. I also feel that I'm in a bit of a 'limbo' waiting for my next step as I've finished my qualification but still an apprentice and couldn't move on to start a degree.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The support from my manager and training coordinator at work has been excellent, both throughout my apprenticeship and continuing in to my full time role. I think that Syngenta has a great attitudes towards apprentices on site as a whole, and I know there are plenty of people who I can ask for help, in any department.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I personally found that the BTEC/NVQ side of my apprenticeship lacked structure and support. I am glad that I had already done A levels prior to starting the apprenticeship as I think I would of struggled learning all the syllabus for the first time in that format. I found the support for my NVQ especially lacking for the first year of the programme.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
As the role I have moved in to is quite specialised, the qualification didn't really relate much to my on the job training, however, it gave me the starting blocks for pursuing a career in any chemistry/laboratory environment. I think the NVQ is good for learning about the softer skills needed for a professional environment.
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.)
We have a community engagement team dedicated to planning social events both at work and in our own time. There are events such as comedy nights, quiz nights, and lots of charity related events. We also go on a walk at lunchtime once a month to raise money for a chosen charity.
9a. Would you recommend Syngenta to a friend?
I think it is a good company to work for, with lots of options if you want to move career paths, or move up the career ladder. I also think the atmosphere is good, and you create good working and social relationships with people on site. The benefits available to you are also good.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Syngenta?
Make sure that you write a cover letter to go with your CV that highlights why you are interested in working for Syngenta, and why you think you would be a good fit for the company. Work experience that is related to the role you are applying for is also something that will stand out.