1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
There is no typical day in the office. When I first started my apprenticeship, I was warmly introduced to everybody in my local office and found out in-depth everybody’s roles as well as Schneider’s structure. Being in sales, I was then introduced to the sales team and assigned a mentor to shadow. I began becoming more familiar with the day to day tasks and spent the beginning of my apprenticeship settling in.
Now being in my second year, I am frequently traveling to other SE offices across the country and different departments to gain a wider understanding of our processes and to make connections to other employees who I may work closely with in the future. I have also begun introducing myself to our installed based customers which includes shadowing my mentor in meetings, site visits and attending events.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt many new skills since joining Schneider. I am always finding myself in new situations and always learning as I go. Schneider are always providing new training courses, whether that is to increase my knowledge on our products/services, and on our internal processes. The main skills I have developed are my communication skills, especially now working from home and using teams/skype/emails day to day to keep in touch with colleagues and customers, and I have learnt how to be more clear in communication. Another main skill I have improved is my work/study balance. I would say it is a skill to balance my uni work, whilst working on projects and keeping up on my day to day roles, especially if there are deadlines.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The main thing I enjoy about my job (pre-covid) is how different each day is. There is always something in my calendar, whether it is spending time in the office, a site visit, training or a customer/internal event (which may include traveling outside the UK). Travelling isn’t for everybody, but it is certainly something I like about my job. However at the moment I am working from home and I can continue with my day to day activities online. The most challenging part of my job is how technical it can be. It is a major jump from college as I am now working with real-life projects, but I need to make sure I can soak up/understand lots of new things every day.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel my apprenticeship is well structured and there is always a plan in place for me to develop my knowledge and skills. However this does change time to time, for example the initial 5 year plan of my apprenticeship has changed quite significantly from what I am doing now, but I feel I am much ahead of where I expected to be in my current role. Most of my university is distant learning, where I attend Skype lectures throughout the week and complete tasks through the university portal online. I visit a university three times a year (for a week at a time), where I can complete practicals and coursework. I can contact my lecturers whenever I need help, and I can watch the online lectures as many times as I want. Although my job is Monday to Friday, 20% of it is assigned to university work, so I may catch up with lectures during my days in the office.
The sales engineer apprenticeship allows me to be flexible when balancing my work with study. For example, if I am away on business one week, I can catch up the week after and vice versa.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I am very well supported from my collogues. Everyone has been happy to share their knowledge and offer help if I ever need it. I completed various short rotations around our other offices/department which has been a great way to introduce myself and build that relationship. I also have a mentor which I met on my first day of Schneider and have been working closely with since. I was able to shadow and learn much more from this.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I have many online lectures with my university (Lincoln). They are always an email away if I have any queries. I feel very supported whilst completing the degree.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My degree is Integrated Engineering and this offers a mixture of subjects in relation to engineering. The department of Schneider I am working in is process automation. Therefore my degree works hand in hand with my job, some future subjects include control systems and robotics. Although my job is in sales, it is still good to have a basic technical understanding and an appreciation for what engineering involves. Also it is helpful to understand subjects which may not necessarily be involved in my job now, as it may come useful later in my career.
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.)
My university offers come extra-curricular activities, however as I am distance learning this is not so useful. Schneider don't have any within my department, however I am aware they offer global opportunities such as volunteering to help communities.
9a. Would you recommend Schneider Electric to a friend?
I would advise anyone leaving college not to rule out apprenticeships for any career they are looking for. It allows no student debt, a salary and many more company perks whilst working. The main benefit is the experience gained which you wouldn't get through uni alone.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Schneider Electric?
The main features to look for are the job role (what experience will you gain), any qualifications (degree, btec..) and what training and support would be provided. Schneider is a very innovative company and look out for employees who think outside of the box, and who will be a positive addition to the team.
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