1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Every Monday I attend college to complete the HND qualification. Tuesday to Friday I attend work at the Broad Oak facility, here I work with the product safety team fulfilling my current 'role' or task, of set-up and use of the thermal analysis software we require for the Spearfish upgrade project. This has required me to spend time learning a coding language (Fortran). This has been a challenge in itself but has greatly helped my understanding of the project.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have never used any from of coding until I came to my current placement so developing my Fortran coding has been a great help to me.
Whilst on the apprenticeship at my other two placements I was involved in modelling and drawing software, things that I have used previously (such as Inventor & AutoCAD)and things that I hadn't even come across (such as TRIBON). these skills were quickly developed and with through self teaching and testing I was able to discover and use features the people that had been using it for years had no idea even existed.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I find the college to be a little tedious at times as I can't always see the relevance of some of the work, but as I move around the company I have begun to appreciate the learning a lot more and realise that it is an essential part of the apprenticeship even if I currently don't use the knowledge I am acquiring.
The work itself I enjoy immensely, the environment is excellent the team are a great help and are both extremely knowledgeable and supportive. The modelling was great as it was so hands on and you could see the physical model and you know it was going to be installed on ship, but the product safety you also know that your work is crucial to the project as it is ensuring the safety of anyone around your product.
4. How valued do you feel by BAE Systems?
In different departments it fells very different on larger teams you tend to find you just become another cog in the clock and don't really see your works benefits of. In other places you are given a task that specifically you are responsible for, often jobs that would be given to a senior engineer. Putting your name on the work and seeing it on the ships makes me feel very valued as I can see my contribution and see that I have helped solve a problem.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel it could be improved, however every year the programme is evolving and responding to our criticisms and praises. They adapted their approach for the up and coming years and try and implement what they can for us.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
They help when they can.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Support has been offered when needed.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
In the first year I was able to get to work and that was it, I scrapped through but each year the salary increase makes living and saving easier.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
The company puts on many events that we are always invited to, both as participants and as organisers.
9. Would you recommend BAE Systems to a friend?
Because overall it is a fantastic opportunity to get to work on what we do and in general their business method is well thought out and they have strong ethics which I can get behind. They lack some integration and progressive innovation, but with the influence of the younger generation and expertise of elder generation BAE Systems is moving very much in the right direction.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BAE Systems?
Always be yourself as your personality goes along way here and if you are keen to work and positive people are happy to help and more inclined to want you in their department at the end of the apprenticeship.