1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an electromechanical engineering apprentice; I have finished my first two years, including the NVQ Level 2 side at QinetiQ Boscombe Down and am currently working towards finishing the Level 3 side. This involves working at my main site, completing jobs relevant to the work I will be carrying out upon qualification. I work with a number of departments including Light Fab and machinign to complete jobs.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have completed a number of training courses throughout my apprenticehsip including "Working at Height", "Radiation Awareness" and the mandatory security refreshers. As well as this, I have received training on pieces of machinery I had not used before my apprenticeship including Mills and Lathes.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The work is very enjoyable and every day is different; no two days work are ever the same. I have been on trials, takin g part in work that I have greatly enjoyed, but also didnt think I would ever take part in. I like working with different teams, as it makes you aware of how different people work to get jobs done.
4. How valued do you feel by DSTL?
I do feel valued by DSTL; when you complete a job and hand it over to your supervisor you are always praised for completing it, both in time and to a standard they have come to expect. You are involved with tasks from the offset and your feedback and ideas are always welcomed.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The organisation of the programme could have been better throughtout. Our course demands us to complete the NVQ between MOD Boscombe Down and Prton Down; the communication between the two could be a lot better and as such, issues were not covered and complaints/queeries were left unanswered and unmentioned. In terms of work placements, arranged through DSTL, they have gone very well and been handled professionally.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
During the last year of our training, the support from the training providerhas been excellent. I am currently havibng meetings with the assessor at least once a month to go over what evidence has been gathered and what more needs to be done to ensure everything is completed properly. They are always also on hand to help with any queeries I may have.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The help from the employer has been excellent in the final year; any work that I have required on top of what has already been cmopleted has been organised and dealt with quickly an efficiently. Everybody involved with my training has been happy to help with any extra work I need.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
As an apprentice, my first year was spent earning just over minimum wage; this made things tight for a short duration as I took quite a pay decrease but it wasn't unmanagable. The second and third years have been better as I have received a pay increase which has made life easier. I am not travelling far and so fuel costs aren't too much of an issue and daily living costs are covered well, leaving a small amount for me to save and some to spend every month.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Outside of work, the company works with schools and colleges, sending apprentices, graduates and employees to talk to students and explain opportunities not including university. There are also "challenges" and apprentice events we are given the chance to partake in, giving us a chance to develop our skills, working with other apprentices and also a chance to network with other companies.
9a. Would you recommend DSTL to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
It is a great opportunity to work in an exciting trade; the work is always interesting and gets your hands dirty whilst learning a whole host of new skills. The work carried out here is some that is not carried out by other companies in the same field such as QinetiQ, in that it is not the same job every day. There are a great deal of training courses that can be undertaken, keeping you up to date with new skills in the field.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to DSTL? *
The main piece of advice would be to make sure you are aware of at least some of the work that is carried out by the company. Turn up for the interview early, well presented and try your best to relax; the interviewers aren't trying to make you feel uncomfortable. Try to explain everything that you do in your private life that is relevant to the job at hand; anything you have made or projects you're involved in. I would have liked to have been told about the specific work that I will be doing in the electrical department.
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