1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I'm a Higher Apprentice working in Design, currently in college 1 day a week and working 4 days a week. I'm currently on placement in Parts Manufacture, getting components made that will be fitted to various concept models. This involves exporting data to suppliers, submitting parts for rapid prototyping, designing mould tools and collecting and delivering parts (among other things). It's a big responsibility, and I'm fulfilling a genuine role within the department which is great. Work levels seem to fluctuate, but I'm usually kept busy.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Learnt to use some impressive CAD software to fulfil my job role within design. I interact with various different departments and project leaders so it's helping with my professional relationship development and communication skills. Also learnt the product creation process from a design perspective in great detail, which I've really enjoyed learning about as I've always been interested in cars. JLR are more than happy to put you on any training courses you feel are necessary, or find interesting - which is great.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Really enjoy the work side of the programme at the moment. In general it's a good atmosphere around the company (from what I've seen), most people are willing to help if you need anything. Getting given responsibility in a genuine role is great as well. Not enjoying my time at Warwickshire College however, organisation and tutors are not at the standard I was expecting at all. Really looking forward to starting my degree at Warwick University.
4. How valued do you feel by Jaguar Land Rover?
Manager's are always encouraging, and I am real member of the team with a valued job role. I have done some work on most of the concepts, and have also been involved in various projects outside of the normal work routine, such as a project with the Royal College of Art in London, and other things like planning timetables for new apprentices starting with the company.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Organisation of the apprenticeship in general is pretty good. The induction week was a long process, but it worked, and I believe it has been improved since I did it. JLR are happy to provide any support you need with regards to learning/training, and the Industrial Training Managers (ITM's) are always making sure that you're happy, and will sort out any problems you're having in work or at college. I've made sure that I've kept on at my manager so that we can organise plenty of placements. The organisation of the college however, is not good.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The ITM's are great, and will help with any problems you're having with college/work life. If you need any extra tuition for college, they will sort this out. The tutors at the college will generally help if they can, however I've found it more useful to do my own research for assignments as there is a shortage of tutors so a lot of lecturers are covering for lessons they can't teach.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Not sure about others, but my manager is more than happy for me to go on training courses and attend events outside of JLR if I feel it would be beneficial. Manager is happy to listen to and resolve any issues/concerns I'm having. Haven't had much involvement with HR, but when I have they have resolved the issue. Generally everyone is willing to help if they can.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Had to budget carefully, but the wage easily covered costs for renting a shared house with other apprentices (I lived in Coventry for the first 6 months, and have lived in Leamington Spa since), both have been affordable as long you're sensible with the place you rent. I lift share to work, and travel expense is not an issue. Have enough disposable income to afford a decent car and live comfortably, going out at weekends etc, and still save money.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Plenty of things to get involved in outside of work. The Employee Learning Scheme provides £200 per year (at time of writing), for training activities outside of work. I used this to do my Advanced Driving course. Corporate Social Responsibility events give you a chance to represent the company and apprenticeship scheme. Sometimes it's a stand at a careers fair, other times it's a presentation to a school, along with other things. I also play in a 5-a-side league with some lads on the apprenticeship. There are other opportunities like the JLR go karting league and things like that.
9. Would you recommend Jaguar Land Rover to a friend?
Great employers with a bright future. If you can put up with college then the rest of the apprenticeship is great. Pay is excellent compared to other schemes (from what I've heard) with regular pay rises and bonuses. Social life isn't like uni, but you meet plenty of people with similar interests so you shouldn't be bored in terms of social stuff.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Jaguar Land Rover?
In terms of the application process, I'd say having some kind of project that you've worked on is a common ground that me and others on the scheme have. For example, I owned a classic mini that I worked on/restored/maintained. Having said that; there are plenty of people that haven't done practical projects like that. I'd personally recommend living in Leamington, as the college is in Leamington, and I work at Gaydon so it's close to both. There is a chance you will be working at one of the Birmingham/Coventry sites though. The assessment days aren't too bad, try and practice the competency tests - they're easy enough once you get to grips with how they work. Do a bit of research into the company and have a good idea of what you want out of the scheme, and your ideal role etc.
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