1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My job role is to support the commercial team with day-to-day technical enquiries from customers such as product recommendations and sample analysis. I am also the project manager on some process projects and commercial opportunities. As part of these commercial opportunities, I travel to customer sites and carry out technology demonstrations and provide any technical documentation required such as test methods or product information sheets.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have developed lots of new skills while working at John Hogg including project management (I recently completed the PRINCE2 Foundation course), customer-facing skills such as report writing and presentation delivery. There has also been a chance to learn about other departments' processes such as the Sales process which is useful for my day-to-day job.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am really enjoying the program. In the 5 years, I have been working towards my degree, I have progressed my career at John Hogg as I used to be a quality control chemist but am now part of technical service. The programme provided by MMU is also enjoyable, I like how variable the content is. We are studying towards a chemistry degree but have been able to learn about business improvement and environmental sustainability as well.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The course is really well structured and organized at MMU. We receive weekly emails that tell us which lectures and content have been released and while we are running projects, we have regular reviews to ensure the project is on track. At my workplace, it's mainly self-managed but I have a mentor who is available if I need extra support.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have a mentor in place who is aware of the course I am taking and checks to ensure I am on track for my predicted grade. They are available if I need help and support. The company is very supportive and I get all the required time off I need to complete my studies.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I receive a lot of support from MMU. They are always available for a phone call if needed and reply to emails quickly, this is both the program leaders and the lecturers. I have always felt fully supported by them throughout the course. They are very helpful with everything, even if I need support that is not academic they will assist.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I think the softer skills we learn throughout the degree such as time management, project management and some of the business improvement units will help me more in my role than the pure chemistry. My job role is customer facing and the presentation and report writing we do throughout the course has really helped.
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.)
As a company, John Hogg is quite small so there is a good social network where people are friendly and go out a lot together. There is no officially organised extra curricular activities but people are always up for meeting up for food, drinks or a game of squash or badminton.
9a. Would you recommend John Hogg Technical Solutions to a friend?
It is a good place to start a career. John Hogg have allowed me the space to grow within my role and choose the direction my career has gone in which is valuable. They also provide a lot of support throughout the apprenticeship in terms of time and people helping me by reading reports etc. which has also been very useful.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to John Hogg Technical Solutions?
The process for applying has changed massively since I started, I started 7 years ago. I think the best advice is to be confident in your interview and not worry about what the experience is you are talking about. I only had the experience of working in a shoe shop but managed to use that for examples during the interview.