This week is National Apprenticeship Week in the UK, and each day we have been highlighting some of our colleagues who is, or has, developed their capability through an apprenticeship route.
QinetiQ celebrating National Apprenticeship Week
We are committed to supporting our employees to continuously develop and grow their skills, and enhance their career opportunities, which ensures that we have the skills we need to deliver for our customers now and into the future.
Meet some of our up-skilling apprentices, who share their experiences and offer some great advice for anyone considering an apprenticeship.
Upskilling is a way to train so that you can become better equipped at doing what you do best. You may be keen to get a formal qualification in your specialist area, so undertaking an apprenticeship programme while still working in your current role provides this opportunity of development with the benefit that apprenticeships are designed by employers so they reflect the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours that our business needs.
Ross Chell, Level 6 Project Management Apprenticeship with Portsmouth University
My name is Ross Chell. I am an Associate Project Manager in the Advanced Services and Products team within the CTO function, based at Haslar and I am currently completing an apprenticeship in Project Management at Portsmouth University.
The degree apprenticeship has allowed me to progress my academic knowledge while also progressing my on the job skills. This helps me to understand the relevance of the work being competed at university and transfer this into the business.
An apprenticeship allows you to learn both theoretically and practically. For me, it creates transparency where on why the topics you learn at university or college is relevant to working life. If this is the way you like to learn then it is worthwhile considering an apprenticeship programme.
Joshua Bradley, Level Four Improvement Practitioner with Intec Business College
Hi! I am Josh Bradley, Business Co-Ordinator for the Business Transformation and Services (BTS) function. I primarily support Vicky Weise in her role as Group Function Director but also assist our Leadership team with various tasks as well as being the central contact point for our BTS teams. I am currently studying to become a Continuous Improvement Practitioner gaining a level four qualification in improvement methodologies.
Completing this apprenticeship in-post means that I can fit my learning and coursework into my weekly working schedule thus allowing me to maximise the time that I have between meetings and other role commitments/priorities. It has also enabled me to bring the knowledge and skills that I am gaining on my apprenticeship into my work and develop/improve upon current processes making them more efficient.
My advice if you are thinking of doing an apprenticeship is to find a course that really interests you and you think you will get enjoyment out of from start to finish. It is also important that the course will benefit you in your current role but also think about the future, upskilling courses are a great way to broaden your horizons when it comes to future work, promotions or new roles in different areas/companies.
Meet some of our previous apprentices who have completed their Apprenticeship programme and are now applying what they have learnt in their day-to-day roles. Some great advice, for those considering an Apprenticeship!
Anthony Baker – Studied Level 3 Electrical/Electronic Communications
Hi, I am Anthony Baker and I am an Instrumentation Technician at MOD Shoeburyness. I have completed a level three Apprenticeship in Electrical and Electronic Communications.
I chose to undergo an apprenticeship as I was faced with the decision between college and 6th form, I never got on at school with people and the system. I have always been a practical person so an apprenticeship seemed the way forward, particularly in engineering. The opportunity to move away was also ideal for me as I was getting bored of my hometown in Essex. I found the advert for QinetiQ’s electrical electronics apprenticeship and realised that after the training period I would still be able to work locally. My interest in military vehicles, systems technology etc. so it just ticked al of the boxes along with being able to escape.
The whole experience with QinetiQ has been a very positive one; it has had its challenges and moments as everything in life does but has been very enjoyable the whole way through.
Looking back over the course of the apprenticeship, I have most enjoyed the big team projects that required everyone to chip in and play their part.
My one piece of advice would be to make sure that you fully understand what you are learning before moving on. If you don’t know, ask. It will not make you look bad, you are not wasting time, you are learning. Make sure you are happy with it. Also, complete your NVQ or EPA knowledge questions as you go. Do not wait until the last month of the apprenticeship, they do not have to be filled in order when completing them, make sure that you are actually answering the question. Find what they are asking for and make sure you only answer the question directly.
Callum Hill – Studied Level 3 Aeronautical Engineering (Avionics – Military)
My name is Callum Hill and I am based within the Electromagnetic Environmental Effects team, based at MOD Boscombe Down. My role within this team is an Instrumentation Technician, which encompasses designing, developing, and manufacturing inert Electro-explosive devices, in order for them to undergo testing in relation to the effects of electromagnetic interference. I started my apprenticeship in 2017, based at MOD Boscombe Down, and undertook a level three Aeronautical Engineering Technician (Avionic – Military) apprenticeship.
I ultimately decided upon joining QinetiQ’s apprenticeship programme, as I had direct understanding of the type of progressive company QinetiQ were, and the work they were involved in, as members of my family also work within QinetiQ, in fact, my Sister completed an identical apprenticeship to me, seven years prior. One of the main reasons why I thought that an apprenticeship was the best route for me was due to the unique, specialist experience that you obtain throughout your apprenticeship, specifically the practical activities that are required to complete during the associated NVQs. This provided me with an insight as to what interests me and could potentially be the foundation to a promising career.
This practical experience also provided me with a real-life hands-on experience that many University candidates lack. Looking back, I now realise the difficulties that University students have when trying to obtain a job, despite having a degree, whereas in my position, I was earning money whilst completing my apprenticeship, and offered a full-time position within the company immediately after my apprenticeship.
To say there were not moments of uncertainty during my apprenticeship would be a lie, as there were, but one thing I could also rely on was the people that make QinetiQ- fellow employees. Unfortunately, as my apprenticeship heavily relied on conducting engineering operations on military aircraft, this became problematic when there were a lack of military aircraft to work on, due to the shift in the company’s position in their approach to future capability, and contract uncertainties. Despite experiencing the uncertainty associated with this, I knew I could always rely on the members of QATS to answer any concerns for me and it was evident they ensured that every opportunity was seized, allowing me to gain substantial evidence for my apprenticeship’s NVQ portfolio. My mentors were always keen to answer any questions I had, and help me develop my knowledge and skills, in order to sure that I was at the appropriate standard to be deemed competent for activities associated with aircraft maintenance work, and ultimately enabling me to pass my End-Point Assessment with ease.
If I were to give advice to anyone who was beginning an apprenticeship through the Early Career’s Programme, is don’t be intimidated at any point throughout the apprenticeship, and ask as many questions as you can, because as cliché as it sounds, the more enthusiasm and effort you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Also, be willing to put yourself into what seems like uncomfortable positions, as they are usually an opportunity for development and progression, and I’m sure you will not regret it!
Nikki Brown First Year Level 6 Aerospace Engineering Apprentice
I am Nikki Brown, an aerospace engineering degree apprentice with the flight physics team at MOD Boscombe Down. I am in my first year, with a training provider, covering the level two part of my apprenticeship standard, and the first year of my degree.
An apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to apply what I was learning to a project, in a way that was practical and productive. QinetiQ works in a range of different projects and as contractors for the MOD, so I knew I would always be involved in new and exciting projects. I knew I wanted to study aerospace but I was worried that a typical degree at university would leave me with no practical experience in this industry when I completed it. The apprenticeship route means I gain two qualifications at level two and four, as well as a level six degree whilst gaining several years of experience in a very interesting field.
My first day at Boscombe Down was the highlight of my experience so far. I had never really been around aircraft before so it was incredible to be so close to so many. I met people who had worked on all kinds of projects and teams, and had already done so much with their career. I saw several pilots come to their first day on site as part of ETPS- pilots from all over the world and all sorts of backgrounds. Being able to see the wonderful and exciting things I would be a part of was incredible and an amazing feeling.
For me, gaining experience was the main reason for applying for an apprenticeship. I come from an area, which has little involvement with the aerospace industry, however, there is a mountain of places you can get experience online. I took part in a number of courses, which are very accessible and therefore can be taken by anyone, a lot of them are free or offer scholarships, so don’t see this as a barrier to getting experience. Whether the experience is industry specific or just a week you spent doing something aside from studies, it can all contribute to you gaining skills and abilities, as well as showing you the range of options available.