I’m delighted to say that things are going well. I’m doing well at college, I recently had my behavioural review with my Work Based Learning Manager, which went well and was an excellent opportunity to get to know him better, which I really appreciated.
Since our last post, I’ve been in what’s called HE. HE is the academic portion of my foundation degree, with classes in Maths, Electrical Principles, Automotive Technology and Materials. I enjoy these lessons, the classes are small and I get to ask lots of questions if I don’t understand a topic or specific area of study. The lecturers are all ex-engineers, something I didn’t expect when I first came here. Many of my lecturers have experience in the automotive industry and I think this benefits us as apprentices, as being able to learn from these motivated, dedicated professionals gives us a great example and contributes to a better working and learning environment.
After HE, before we broke up for Christmas, I had a practical block: Automotive Electrical Maintenance. In this block I learned about the electrical components of an internal combustion engine, primarily the starter motor and alternator. I think I’m really benefiting from the teaching methods employed at the college. Learning the theory and then going straight into practical blocks really helps deepen my understanding, as I get to see first-hand the application of the engineering principles I’m learning about.
I returned to work after Christmas on January 2nd to a health and wellbeing event put on by the college and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). This was, by my estimation, truly excellent. The past three days have been eye-opening in parts, profound in others, and very beneficial to me and to the wider apprentice cohort. The JLR Info team, who are based at the college and who organised the event, had listened to suggestions made by apprentices after the induction week back in September, and organised the event so that we moved between presentations from the invited speakers in smaller groups, as opposed to us all being in the conference room for the entire event.
I really appreciated that the organisers of the event had listened to feedback intently, and had acted upon that information. I think this is reflective of the attitude that our managers have towards us as apprentices, we are treated as professionals that have ideas to contribute, we’re treated as valuable assets, as part of the team.
One of the key reasons I chose to join Jaguar Land Rover, ahead of other organisations, was the biography of Nick Rogers, Executive Director of Product Engineering, written on the Jaguar Land Rover Corporate website. This biography details Nick Rogers’ career at JLR, who I discovered began as an apprentice in 1984. This fact that an apprentice could rise to the executive level suggested to me that Jaguar Land Rover fosters an environment of respect for apprentices and trust in their capabilities. The health and wellbeing event proved this to me; Jaguar Land Rover cares about each and every one of us as individuals.
At the event, representatives from HSBC gave us advice on how to use our pay to save for a home and retirement, we had sessions on Drug, Alcohol & Gambling addiction, and we were introduced to BEN, a charity that offers support to members of the automotive industry. BEN concentrates on 4 elements of health and wellbeing, physical, mental, social and even financial health and wellbeing. We had a powerful session delivered by Warwickshire Fire Department called the Fatal Four about the four actions that lead to deaths in road traffic accidents; speed, distractions, not wearing a seatbelt and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This session was truly harrowing in places, graphic and made me think a lot about the risks involved when driving, in a group of our size, I do not think it unreasonable to suggest that this session could save lives.
My favourite parts of the health and wellbeing event were two presentations from current JLR employees. The first was from an employee who joined the army at aged 17, fought in Iraq and Afghanistan but suffered with stage 4 post-traumatic stress disorder. He spoke to us about competing at the Invictus Games, his recovery and journey to working at JLR. The day after we heard from another employee about the support JLR gives to its employees about stress and the work which is done to promote good health and wellbeing.
I’d like to leave this month with a quote that I think epitomises the Health and Wellbeing event. This quote was mentioned in an email from Dr. Ralf Speth to all employees on World Mental Health Day 2018: “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together”
Callum Redmond, Jaguar Land Rover Degree Apprentice