Apprentice, Early Careers, Engineering, People

Dispelling Degree Apprenticeship Myths.

‘The mid-way point of my six year degree apprenticeship at Jaguar Land Rover is fast approaching. The opportunity for both personal and professional development within the framework of a degree apprenticeship is unparalleled. Real-world experience combined with academic studies at the university of Warwick is, in my opinion, the best of both worlds.

So why aren’t degree apprentice schemes more popular?

Sure, the pendulum is starting to shift, but the traditional university route is still the default for many school leavers. There are many misconceptions that stop people from applying for apprenticeships and I had some myself prior to applying. With 31 months under my belt, I think I finally know what It means to be a degree apprentice at JLR.  So, allow me to dispel some of these myths and show you that an Apprenticeship can not only be a viable alternative to university, but for many people, a much better option.

But what exactly is a degree apprenticeship?


Well, think of it as full-time employment whilst studying part time at university.

But won’t that be really difficult?

You will have to balance your responsibilities at work whilst ensuring you keep up with your studies. But don’t worry, there is a whole team of people in place who are dedicated to looking after apprentices, so if you need support, it is definitely there!

Aren’t apprenticeships for people who didn’t do well at school?

This isn’t the case, many apprentices choose to complete a degree apprenticeship rather than university as it allows them to gain practical work experience and earn whilst completing their academic studies. A degree apprenticeship is equivalent to going to university and Jaguar Land Rover’s application process is thorough to ensure that you can succeed on your apprenticeship programme.

Isn’t a university degree worth more than a degree from an apprenticeship?

On the contrary. The degree you gain has been designed to meet IET accreditation requirements, and with your many years of experience at work, you will have all of the necessary requirements to become chartered.

But won’t I be able to earn more in the long run by going to university?

All it takes to dispel this myth is some quick maths. While university students incur debt of around £40k throughout their degree, apprentices are paid for the privilege. At JLR, degree level apprentices can expect to earn around £20k per year at the start of the scheme and given you perform as expected, you can receive pay rises that will take you above the average graduate starting salary by the end of your scheme, which you will leave debt-free.

But apprenticeships don’t lead anywhere!

I am sure Nick Rogers, Executive Director of Product Engineering at JLR, would have something to say about that. Having joined Land Rover in 1984 as a technical apprentice, his career has taken him right to the top of the industry. With an apprenticeship, the real world experience and interactions you gain from the very start, give an insight into things which cannot be taught and can leverage your career over your peers. And although not guaranteed, the overwhelming majority of apprentices stay with the business after their scheme.

Will I be asked to go to get the tartan paint?

Gone are the days when apprentices just made the tea. At JLR, apprentices provide huge value to the business and take on real responsibility. You will work along side experts in their field and draw upon their years of experience to garner in depth knowledge which you would not learn through academia. Even though you are an apprentice, you will be trusted to do the same jobs as people much more experienced than you, and you will be able to excel at it with the training and support you are provided with.

Ok you have convinced me on the academic and work side, but wont I miss out on the university life?

Balancing work and study can be difficult, and time will be at a premium. But don’t think you will have to fully compromise on the university experience. JLR invest heavily in apprentices and each year’s cohort see’s over a hundred likeminded individuals join the business, meaning there is a large network of new people to meet, work and socialise with. The early careers hub connects apprentices and graduates for social events, trips, projects and volunteering opportunities. As a degree apprentice, you will also be eligible for all the student benefits at the University of Warwick such as societies, sport, and student discounts.

I hope I have been able to address some of your concerns. A degree apprenticeship isn’t for everyone. But, if you have drive, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, then it might just be for you.’


Early Careers, Engineering, Software, Technology

Why our supportive culture really matters.

Now in her fifth year with the business, Mia, Advanced Battery and Cell Engineer tells us why the supportive culture of Jaguar Land Rover has been so important to her:

“I wanted to work here from the age of 13. Jaguar Land Rover presented the projects they were working on at my school career fair. They really stood out, as the people presenting seemed not much older than me! I put them at the top of my list of places to work straight away.

My original career thoughts had always been towards working in law. I grew up in foster care and came into contact with lawyers quite a lot and my passion for caring for children started there. But I was also fascinated by the world of engineering.

One of the greatest aspects of working here is I can balance the two.

In my engineering role I’m looking at how batteries perform. I prepare a lot of models around how batteries behave electrically and thermally in different situations. How they store energy and how sustainable they are. This is such an important part of the future of every Jaguar Land Rover vehicle. Our desire to create cars that are autonomous, connected, electrified and shared is something I’m really passionate about.

I am also given the time and support for my volunteering work. I give talks to give a voice to children in care and volunteer at events to help young people in care such as outreach programs with Warwick University. I’m part of the children in care council and helped set up the care leavers forum.

I’m especially passionate about bringing more women into engineering. The diversity here is one of our strengths and has changed for the better – even in the short time I’ve been here!

This is my 5th year at JLR. It’s gone so quickly and I’ve achieved so much already. The first two years were really hands on and my time at Warwick University has complemented my experience here. I’ve worked with partners around the world. Bringing different experts together is so important to our shared futures and I benefit so much – personally and professionally – by working with them all.

Like I said, the supportive culture is really important. I’ve set my sights high – I want to be the youngest female manager at JLR. And I know I will be supported and pushed hard to achieve my ambitions.”

Apprentice, Early Careers, Engineering, Featured, Home Page, People, Software, Technology

Are you wondering what it’s like to be an apprentice at Jaguar Land Rover?

Here is Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprentice Lauren with an insight into her experiences of life at JLR:

“Before starting at JLR I naturally wondered whether I would be able to make an immediate contribution in the broad range of projects I would be working on. Looking to a software course such as the DTS stream, I questioned if it would all be coding related or if I’d be given the opportunity to diversify and develop new skills.

I had studied Python in GCSE Computing and knew this was going to feature on the course. In A-Level Product Design, I had progressively advanced my skills in CAD programs such as Fusion 360 and a project opportunity soon appeared enabling me to use these skills in designing and fabricating a jig to allow the testing of ECUs. From this, CAD has become an important part of my job.

Making a true difference in the business was something I was looking forward to before I joined. When focusing on smaller scale projects, you may feel as though your work doesn’t contribute, but it all adds up to the bigger picture and I’ve been directly involved in real world vehicle software development.

Before my apprenticeship journey, I also wondered if I’d be thrown in at the deep end as I’d just finished A-Levels at school and so still very much learning despite work experience placements in both automotive and aerospace industries. When I joined, I was supported via informal inductions and tours from older apprentices etc. It can be daunting at first, but my team was on hand to support swift learning and integration.

The transition from A-Levels to university lectures felt smoother than the move from GCSE to A-Level with the teaching level being taxing where necessary. Of course, we currently study via online lectures which I have enjoyed because we can still collaborate in smaller groups, with assessments having a more coursework-based content, but they still have sufficient challenge.

It is quite an adjustment to go from face to face learning to using Teams and I did think that the collaboration opportunities might reduce however if anything, I’ve collaborated with a lot more people on a lot more projects since working remotely. That said, I have learnt through lockdown that it is crucial to develop a good work-life balance when working from home. I have sometimes continued working beyond the usual office hours, but it is good to switch off and have a proper break to take care and be productive in your actual working hours.”

Apprentice, Body Engineering, Early Careers, Engineering, People

From Young Women in the Know to Furthering Futures

What drew you to Jaguar Land Rover when you were seeking an apprenticeship?

I initially considered Jaguar Land Rover as it is a well-known, respected company and local to home. I discovered Jaguar Land Rover apprenticeships through the Young Women in the Know Programme (now Furthering Futures) where I spent a week visiting the Jaguar Land Rover sites, experiencing the facilities and meeting engineers. I was especially inspired by the apprentices I met who were only a couple of years older than me and working on some really exciting projects.  My impression of Jaguar Land Rover, was that it was an exciting, friendly and supportive place to work with a focus on developing people; somewhere I could see myself being happy. This course is the reason I am an apprentice at Jaguar Land Rover today!

Why did you decide to do a Degree Apprenticeship rather than go to university?

Although I was keen to do a degree, the traditional University route didn’t appeal to me. A degree apprenticeship offered the opportunity to work/earn money at the same time as studying meaning I could afford to move out and get a car. It also offered more practical experience and a direct route into employment, which was attractive because getting a job out of university is very competitive.

Describe a typical day at work

Typically I work 7:00am – 3:30pm. My day is split between a CAD role which involves developing designs in CAD, running CAE and analysing results and a Lead Engineer Role where I am responsible for delivering robust engineering releases and managing my parts through gateways. I tend to spend most of my time at my desk, but I am regularly on the phone, attend engineering reviews and meeting with my supplier.

As part of the apprenticeship, I attend University 6 weeks throughout the year and I spend a day a week working on my NVQ and work based projects.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is managing and prioritising my time between work, university, NVQ and other commitments. Although, I do enjoy being busy and I am never bored at work!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Identify role models and speak to as many people as you can about careers and their experience. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone because there are so many opportunities available!

What do you love most about working at Jaguar Land Rover?

I love that there is always something interesting to work on and another problem to solve. My team is supportive and fun to work with and I love that I can look back to 2014, when I start my apprenticeship, and see how much I have gained in confidence and capability.

Apprentice, Body Engineering, DFT, Electrical Engineering, Engineering, People, Software, Technology

Meet Our Pioneering Apprentices – Day 4 of 5

Mihaela Botnariuc successfully completed her Degree Apprenticeship in August 2018 and is now a Digital Optimisation Engineer in our Body Engineering team. As part of her technical training Mihaela gained a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Engineering from the University of Warwick, and is currently working towards a Master’s level qualification through our Technical Accreditation Scheme.

“In Body Engineering we are responsible for delivering almost everything the customer can see and touch on a vehicle. I work with the seating team to create digital models and tools that make our processes more efficient and enhance the overall quality of our products”.

“Our cars are beautiful, but to complete the package they require brilliant engineering. Even something as simple as choosing a material can be incredibly complex; we look at things like safety and crash performance, as well how the material looks, feels, and responds to customer usage over the lifetime of the vehicle”.

“At school I enjoyed the sciences, Maths, Art and Textiles, and saw myself going to university to study Mathematics. I didn’t know what I wanted to do afterwards and where I would apply my Maths degree once I obtained it. This was partly due to a lack of knowledge and experience of the wide applications of skills in the workplace.”

“I chose the Apprenticeship with Jaguar Land Rover because of my interest in STEM subjects and design. During the apprenticeship I had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and experience the vast number of areas that are involved in developing our cars. This allowed me to grow my understanding and make a more informed decision about which areas were most suited to my interests and strengths.”

“My role involves both working alone, investigating and delivering solutions for the teams I work with, and being part of a team trying to understand our internal customer requirements and how those can be met. Therefore being a good communicator is important when interacting in teams and with colleagues whose requirements I am trying to meet. Independent thinking is also crucial when delivering solutions to customers.”

“I enjoy taking on new challenges and problem solving, which is essential for my role. In a typical week I work on a variety of projects including user trials, research projects, and projects that have Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) or Computer Aided Design (CAD) requirements. All this helps to meet design and aesthetic requirements for the components, while also balancing that with internal engineering standards for quality and safety.”

Mihaela is on the Degree Apprentice programme. To find out more about the Advanced, Higher and Degree Apprentice programmes we currently offer at Jaguar Land Rover, check out our careers website.