1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
- My job role within Jaguar Land Rover is integration and development of EPAS systems being introduced for upcoming vehicle projects, given by the job title EPAS Integration Engineer. The term 'EPAS' denotes Electronic Power Assisted Steering; with EPAS being an all new method of providing power steering, superseding HPAS (Hydraulic Power Assisted Steering). My day to day tasks vary greatly with a full spectrum of tasks, from vehicle testing to delivery planning with the supplier and anything between. I am responsible for the development and successful implementation of EPAS software for the 17 model year Jaguar project 'F Pace'. With this, much of my job role is planning of the project; ensuring that the supplier is aligned with our needs in terms of creation and delivery of software, ensuring that we have test vehicles to suit our work, diagnosing and rectifying issues which hinder the project and working closely with seniors along with the wider business. Parts of my job role involve very close interaction with prototype vehicles in order to complete vehicle testing of latest, and up and coming EPAS software, along with development of functions within said software. With this I am responsible for ensuring that as a team, we are provided with the correct prototype vehicles to allow for our test work which involves working closely with fleet control as business demand on prototype vehicles is particularly high as JLR expands as business further. I am responsible for diagnosing, and where necessary reporting on issues which occur across the prototype fleet, in some cases reporting these issues back to the supplier. With this it's imperative that I have a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the system. I am often heavily with build support; ensuring that no issues are occurring at build, and in cases ensuring that issues are correctly diagnosed and rectified. I work very closely with several areas within the wider business to ensure that the project is on track, and successful with all targets being met on time. By being responsible for the project, I often serve as a 'go to man' for enquiries from elsewhere within the business.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
- I feel the most valuable skills I have learnt are not the qualifications I have gained, but the professional and personal skills I have obtained. Since starting with JLR in 2012, I have grown as a person and would like to consider myself as a competent, professional personal. I've learnt how to project plan; how to put my point across in a professional manner; how to use data and information to support my points; how to carry myself confidently and to not be intimidated by seniors but instead use them to benefit and support me where needed. What I've learnt which I feel is the most beneficial is that it's ok to question those more senior, given that you act with respect and conduct, often lack of experience but high amount of fresh idea is welcomed by the business in developing new ideas. I have obtained a range of NVQs, along with a Foundation Degree. I am currently completing my Honours Degree in Engineering at the University of Warwick, which will allow me to become a fully qualified, recognised Engineer. I regularly attend internal training courses which apply to my job role, with several examples including Advanced Driver Training, courses in Control Area Network simulations, C+ Programming, internal systems training and software training, such as Microsoft Project.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
- I can honestly say that I truly enjoy my job; as a team we enjoy a very good, professional working atmosphere with strong support for one another amongst the team. As a business, the culture is to be the absolute best you can be, so all development is strongly supported. Prior to starting at JLR I was concerned about the stigma with regard to Apprentices; I was worried I'd feel intimidated and spoken down to. However it became quickly apparent that this is not atall the case, but instead the opposite. Given that I put my point and beliefs forward strongly, I never find myself being question 'because I'm an apprentice' but instead treated with professionalism and respect.
4. How valued do you feel by Jaguar Land Rover?
- As not just an employee, but a person, I always feel very valued by JLR. When I complete good or hard work I feel my efforts are always noted, with nothing going without thanks.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
- On the whole, I feel as the programme has come to be structured very strongly. However, in honesty I would say that when I first started with JLR the programme structure was in need of improvement. I found that the induction was late in the year - it left me little time to move (as I had to relocate for the job). I felt torn between my local team and the apprentice team; a good example of this is overtime; my manager was unable approve overtime due to poor links between the two teams, often resulting in me either not being paid for overtime or me having to be late to complete tasks as I could only complete them in my core hours. However, over the past 2 years the programme structure has been greatly improved, with the induction date being moved forward, and less involvement from the apprentice team in terms of authorising overtime for example; allowing my manager to supervise me better. I feel as though I have great support from both the apprentice team and local team, with my ITM (Industrial Training Manager) providing me with comprehensive and frequent progress reviews. I feel as though should I ever need support it is always readily available. My Supervisor regularly acknowledges my workload in terms of not just my work, but University work also by frequently asking if I'm coping ok, and if support is required. Senior support is always around me should I need it when working with the wider business. Task delegation is appropriate; although it is difficult to balance my working tasks with my University tasks at times, I always feel as though I'm in a position to keep on top of it.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I attend bi-monthly reviews with my training manager (ITM) who always give me a very thorough review, covering not just my working life but my training activities. All apprentices at JLR have an ITM, which we use as a forum to feedback any issues or concerns. Our safety and well-being is always paramount with our ITMs, who ask a series of questions with regard to different aspects of our employment. I genuinely enjoy the reviews with my ITM is in may senses he's also a friend aswell as an ITM.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Very much the same as from my ITM. We will have a sit down chat regularly to discuss my learning as he's always very supportive of my development and understands the difficulty of learning whilst working. He also provides very good, solid support in terms of the working aspect of my employment; where needed I can rely on him to support me in making decisions, and where necessary supporting my decisions.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I The salary I earn now as a third year apprentice is significantly above the average wage of a qualified person on the Isle of Wight (my home). With this, I feel as though I live comfortably, covering my living and travel costs whilst also having funds to support my hobbies.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I've attended several work related events outside of work in terms of meals and award evenings rewarding our innovative work over the past 12 months. With this, as a team we also go for meals together regularly outside of work. JLR also have an Employee Learning Scheme which funds outside activities of employees with a fund of up £200 which is replenished every 6 months.
9. Would you recommend Jaguar Land Rover to a friend?
I would certainly recommend JLR to a friend; I genuinely enjoy my working life at JLR, I'm treated with respect and feel as though I'm provided with opportunity always.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Jaguar Land Rover?
Application process - provide as many examples of technical knowledge as possible. If you have technical interest, make sure you show it. Be professional, show commitment and desire to develop. Interviews - very much the same as the application process. Be prepared for technical questions and examples of how you will apply yourself. Assessment days - prepare for mathematical assessment, psychometric testing and group working exercises. Experiences - give good examples of where you have demonstrated leadership and application. Give examples of outside interests and hobbies beside work. What I would have like to have been told - very much the above!
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