1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My job title is 'Apprentice Test Technician'. I am based in the Test Operations department at Mercedes AMG HPP. Daily tasks have included preparing and fitting F1 engines to test beds, doing pass-off and development testing with engines, fitting sub-systems i.e. turbos, gearboxes, to test rigs and doing pass-off tests, and working in the electrical support workshop making/maintaining looms and test equipment for the dynos and rigs. Daily internal interactions include the majority of colleagues within the Test Ops department. My personal responsibilities have been mainly based in the electrical workshop and test rigs, as training to independently operate dynos can takes years of practice and work.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Mercedes has funded my BTEC Level 3 in Engineering as well as my HNC in Mechanical Engineering. Internal training causes have included ERS (Energy Recovery System) H&S and Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing to current British standards. All my current practical skills have been learned on the job, as before I started I had absolutely no experience doing hands-on engineering work. I have also learned a lot about electrical engineering during my time in the electrical workshop. Personal skills have come a long way, including confidence and communication.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I find the combination of doing a HNC course alongside my apprenticeship very difficult, especially the time management. Other than that I feel lucky to work in a company like this, where H&S is a huge priority and we are well looked after. It is a nice environment to work in with nice people. It can be stressful at times, with the pressure of competition, but for the most part I do enjoy being here.
4. How valued do you feel by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains?
As an apprentice I feel undervalued. I would like more responsibilities, other than odd-jobs, and for people to trust my capabilities a bit more. External recognition is good, as people seem impressed that I work for this company, however internally I would like to be able to prove myself a bit more and earn some better recognition.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Initial progress with my apprenticeship was a bit rocky, as it took 6 months for us to get our portfolios and to see what units we would be completing. Communication with our first assessor was also poor, and since having a new assessor we have been told different information on how best to complete our portfolio, which is frustrating as it has caused extra work that we weren't anticipating. Internal structure within the company is great, training is accessible and I really appreciate our funding for college.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Since meeting our new apprenticeship assessor support has been great. Communication is good and we have very regular meetings with him. He is understanding of our commitments to college, so can be flexible with his deadlines. Overall, good support and guidance which I appreciate and enjoy.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Support in general is very good. Problems and issues are received well and are usually resolved quickly. We have regular contact and meetings with HR to monitor our progress, which gives us plenty of opportunities to voice opinions and problems we might have.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I am still currently living at home, so I save a lot of my pay check each month with the aim of buying my first house in the near future. Travel costs are easily covered despite driving 15 miles each way. I appreciate the good pay apprentices receive here.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are some small clubs that have been set up by colleagues, such as karting and evening bike-rides. The company also puts on really great Christmas and summer parties/events. I don't currently have any hobbies outside of work, so am looking to start one.
9. Would you recommend Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains to a friend?
Great support and opportunities offered by the company. Pay is brilliant and I feel that this apprenticeship and qualifications I get here will be very valuable in the future.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains?
I found the interviews here to be a bit daunting, because the site and the buildings here are very impressive, but the people are really nice and I had no reason to be nervous. This place is very generous in terms of the opportunities they give you, so make sure to take full advantage of that.