1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I work as a project controller meaning that I analyse and monitor schedules, compare actual spend against forecast and work closely with engineers. Every three months there is a large contract status review which means reprofiling all estimated spend on each contract.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I feel that I have developed my businss acumen and communication skills greatly. Whether through the medium of email, telephone or meetings, I feel confident in explaining things from a project control view point and have began to challenge existing processes. I am excelling at information interpretation and my organisational skills are also improving.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I feel that the benefits the programme provides is fantastic, the paid honours degree, the salary and the responsibilty you get, however personally I do not enjoy all the day to day roles I currently possess. I do not enjoy routines as there are many monthly cycles within my job. Yes there is opportunity for ad-hoc work but this is too rare for me. I also feel I am not always being managed correctly, as I have received a lack of support since I started nor have I been challenged and pushed to be better.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
It is apparent that BAE value their apprentices and make it clear that we are the future of the company. We do receive responsibilty in our roles but I am not always confident that all apprentices receive the right management, in terms of training opportunities and motivation.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The overall structure is very clear that we have 5 year-long placements and the way in which we complete our degree. The induction was structured and there were site talks and lectures so generally the programme is very rigid.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Occasionally we get invited to training days or master classe which are very benficial. We are going on a week long training expedition in the Lake District all paid for which I am very much looking forward to. The scheme co-ordinators are very helpful with any queries or support, they are eager to see you regularly to get to know you.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
In a year's placement, things can change a lot. When I first started my manager was off for a month and when she returned we didn't have the good working relationship that I saw others develop especially as she was part time and I rarely saw her. After a few months I moved into a new role, with a new manager who I got on with very well. He took me through loads of training and praised me after good pieces of work. Just two weeks after having him as a manager he unfortunately had to switch roles and I have had no management since then. I find it frustrating that I haven't had the right support but in a way it will have granted me greater responsibility as I did a lot on my own in my first role and it was a strong introduction into the company. The most frustrating aspect was one of my first reviews I got poor ratings for my performance but was given no guidance on how to improve or where I was going wrong.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Unfortunately, I haven't saved much from my first year but it's my own fault for going on 6 holidays in a year, buying a new car, a phone, a dog etc etc... From my viewpoint I always have disposable income to do what I want and whilst I'm only 18, I dont see anythign to save up for! It's up to you whether you are wise and save!
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is an ambassador scheme that I am aware of but not part of. I know it involves delivering talks and volunteering to improve knowledge of the industry around schools and clubs. I will join this next year.
9. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend?
The variety of jobs available, the benefits such as flexitime and the company strategy; striving to be the best.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems?
Firstly, make sure you know what you're applying for. I felt somewhat misled when I first started, comparing the work I'm doing to how it appeared on the application. In terms of the application form, use all the life experiences you can as BAE are interested in well-rounded and diverse people. Answer the question that is being asked but also bend it to bring in as many experiences you can and show case all the skills you have.
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