1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am training to become a software developer. My time is split one day a week at the University of Winchester and the rest of my time is on site at Roke. Roke has been very accommodating and has tried to find projects that suit my interests and enabled me to change between projects to experience the company as a whole. This has enabled me to work and learn from a wide range of projects and people.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The degree is a mixture of software development and business, this is providing me with the skills to effectively perform my job and also have a greater understating of how the business operates . Internally there are many opportunities to learn either be from a project or using many of the resources that are at my disposal if there is a particular skill I would like to develop/learn.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I really enjoy the program the work and with the team that I work with there is never a dull day. As a company there is a very strong team working culture and as an apprentice we are encouraged to network an meet people, and Roke makes sure we have plenty of opportunities to do so.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The program is very well structure, once we start we join the early careers program with the graduates, this provides us with the basic skills and knowledge to navigate our way through the business and start work on various projects. As an apprentice I not only have a line manager but also a mentor and regularly meet with both. This enables me to have multiple points of contact for who I am also able to go to to seek help or guidance if I have a problem or query.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Being only the second year Roke has run this scheme there are a few adjustments that need to be made and as a company they are listening to the apprentices and attempting to make the arrangements to improve these areas, but overall as a company they are very supportive and allow us the time to manage to work load of university and work.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The university course is also taken by regular students so it is designed for a student with a lot of time on their hands. Lectures and seminar leads all understand our issues with timing and the day itself can be quite draining. With that said the university is attempting to make efforts to reduce the burden on apprentices and it is not going to be solved overnight.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My qualification enables me to better understand how business operate and therefore better understand my place in the company. The technical knowledge it provides is slightly behind the what I learn whilst on the job, when the course eventually catches up it reinforces and consolidates ensuring I have a full understanding of how everything works and how to properly build and develop systems.
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.)
At Roke we are fortunate to have an onsite gym, tennis courts and a social club that has many different groups you can join and if there isn't a group that suits your interests you can make one. Every year the company holds a bonfire night with a fire work display like no other and the bonfire is built by the grads and apprentices that joined that year - it is a very popular event within the company.
9a. Would you recommend Roke to a friend?
It generally is a very nice place to work, as an apprentice everyone knows you may not know everything yet and you're not expected to. Technical knowledge can be learned. As long as you have the passion to learn Roke provides an apprentice with all the tools needed to succeed.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Roke?
The application process is quite simple, you submit your cv then wait to see if you get an interview and assessment day. Interviewers are not there to catch you out, be yourself. An interview is about finding out who you are not on paper. Assessment centre is a mainly about showing team work don't be afraid to voice your ideas, teams work well when everyone works towards the common goal.