1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
As an apprentice, most of the first year is spent working towards a degree in Aerospace Computer Systems and volunteering in different schemes - such as careers fairs, mock interviews, and larger events such as the cheltenham science festival. At the end of the first year (once exams have been passed) apprentices are put 3 month rotations around the business to see what different areas do and what interests them the most. In my current rotation I am working on software tools for a military project.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
In my first year I learned to program in C, solder effectively, design and assemble circuit boards, communicate to audiences (I have now spoken in front of a group of 500+ students in a school assembly) and a plethora of other technical and soft skills. I also passed the first year of my degree. This year, I have expanded my programming knowledge to cover C# and VBA, I am working with microcontrollers for the first time, leading small teams and finding out new things about myself all the time!
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Working for GE is brilliant; they are a global company with an incredible amount of expertise, but the people here have a great ethos and are always happy to help. The programme has surpassed my expectations greatly!
4. How valued do you feel by GE (General Electric)?
GE is fantastic at recognising achievement. My manager is always sure to give credit where it's due and team members here are always loathe to give boring tasks to the apprentices. My current project has me attending all team meetings, giving status reports and doing work that really matters, which feels great!
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is custom-built to give every opportunity under the sun to us. It is built into different years where we accomplish different objectives, earn different qualifications and learn what we need to get the job done.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The tutors and supervisors for the degree are always ready to lend a hand where it's needed, often staying in late with us to get extra work done or help us to understand a difficult concept. Problems are dealt with in a structured system.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My manager is busy all the time, but always makes an effort to listen and respond to concerns, big and small. The support system here makes it really easy to voice a worry, or fill in a form online to get a problem solved.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary meets my need with incredible ease, I always end up with plenty of spending money to put into a savings account at the end of a month even having spent a lot. I never have to check my balance because I always know there will be extra!
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
This is an aspect which GE excels at. The sheer number of volunteering programs, clubs and societies available to go to make it difficult to choose! Everything is catered for from GirlsGetSET (getting secondary school girls interested in engineering) to the K'nex challenge (explaining engineering to primary school students with a hands-on twist) and a ping-pong tournament weekly.
9. Would you recommend GE (General Electric) to a friend?
I've learned an incredible amount in under 2 years, I'm doing a degree which is payed for by the company, I'm getting soft skills on the side, my salary is competitive and well above everyone else my age and I love engineering.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to GE (General Electric)?
It's not all about the grades you get; it's about you as a person as well. Of course, study hard! Just make sure you get out there and grow yourself, or even better - grow others!