At Jaguar Land Rover we think it’s so important to have a diverse mix of views, perspectives and experiences. Our apprentices are in a truly unique position, where they gain theoretical knowledge which they can practically apply to make our cars even better every day. Early on in my career I was lucky enough to experience these benefits first-hand.
When I started as a kid in the 1980s I wanted to do electronics, and after my O-Levels at school I secured a place on an electronics apprenticeship, at what was then British Leyland in Oxford. As a 16-year-old it was a dream job, but it wasn’t to be. I discovered I was colour blind, and when you’re working with wiring you need to be able to tell the difference between red and green, so I couldn’t have the job.
Despite being deeply disappointed, I was then offered a role as a body engineer. This new role gave me all sorts of opportunities, for example crash testing and optimising the body structure of the vehicle. I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did. I always say to people ‘don’t try to plan your career, just do the best you can and take every opportunity to learn’. I am truly grateful for all the experiences I had as an apprentice; they gave me a really solid grounding in a wide range of engineering disciplines and I learned so much about the business.
Today our apprentices are a crucial part of our engineering organisation. Their roles range from mechatronics maintenance and running test rigs, to software engineering, design and development. We have an industry-leading completion rate with 90 per cent of all apprentices completing their programme, compared to a national average of 67 per cent.
As skills shortages continue to grow as an industry wide issue, I firmly believe we should be encouraging more bright young people to consider an apprenticeship as a route into engineering.
Don’t just take my word for it. Starting tomorrow, and every day for the rest of the week, I will be sharing an article about one of our pioneering apprentices in Product Engineering, inviting them to share their experiences about their apprenticeship journey so far. Hopefully you find their insights as inspiring as I did!
To find out more about the apprenticeship programmes we currently offer at Jaguar Land Rover, check out our careers website.