1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Throughout the programme I completed three month placements within different sectors of the Business, mostly focusing on engineering roles. Each placement would vary depending on the different projects open at the time and can include tasks such as:
Testing products, such as high end thermal imagers
Manufacturing in house products, such as cables, test boxes and prototype circuit boards
Writing documents, such as risk assessments, assembly and test instructions, and test results
Designing CAD models
When I started a placement, I would usually shadow an engineer to gain an insight into the placement and the project. As my knowledge expanded I would be trusted to complete tasks without any assistance or supervision. By the end of each placement I would be responsible for important tasks within the project and would be treated like any other member of the project team. Within my time as an apprentice I was given many opportunities to travel abroad with the company.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
During my apprenticeship I learnt a variety of skills, including:
Using an oscilloscope
Using modelling software
Writing basic programs in visual basic
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The work is always interesting and challenging. However the relaxed nature of the work environment and support from my managers ensure I obtain any assistance required. Due to the responsibility given to myself, the company make me feel like a valid employee that benefits the company.
4. How valued do you feel by Leonardo?
The opportunities I have received make me feel highly valued by the company. Since starting my apprentice I have been on 6 business trips to various events. I have now also received sponsorship to study for my BEng(hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Greenwich University part time.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The apprentice manager provides a placement plan to follow, however if you found a certain placement that takes your interest or the placement would like you for longer, the plan can be adjusted to suit your interest and the need of the company.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
PROCAT who provide the basic engineering training and BTEC level 3 do not have competent staff. Many lessons are not planed and are therefore poorly taught. They are unorganised and the apprentice manager frequently has to discuss issues raise by the apprentices. Issues have included lost work, inadequately IT facilities, and not teaching all the qualifications agreed by Selex.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Apprentices are well respected within the company and the majority of managers and employees are always willing to help with any problem. The apprentice manager constantly reviews your progress and is open to any questions or problems that need resolving. My NVQ assessor was also very supportive, with regular meetings and advice for my NVQ. Managers will always offer apprentices opportunities to further their skills so they can become more beneficial to the company.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is competitive and increases by £1500 - £2000 each year based on performance. The salary meets all my travel and living expenses with plenty left for savings.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are many charity events that run throughout the year. The apprentices also organise the companies Rampaging Chariots competition, which is a Robot building competition between many of the local schools. I also took part in many careers events to make many young people more aware of engineering as a career choice.
9. Would you recommend Leonardo to a friend?
As a company Selex tries to find roles that you enjoy as well as fit the company needs. There is a lot of support and praise for hard work. The work is also very interesting when compared to other jobs. There are also lots of opportunities for training and higher education.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Leonardo?
If you want to apply for Selex or any other engineering apprentice take up a hobby that shows interest in the subject and involves learning technical information to make or build something. For example, changing parts on a car or building electronics. The person with the highest grades is not guaranteed to get the job. Many employers prefer an enthusiastic employee rather than someone who has high grades but no product interest.
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