Apprentice, Early Careers, People

Life of a Jaguar Land Rover Apprentice, What You Need to Know. Part two.

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

Apprentice, Body Engineering, Early Careers, Engineering, Featured-Lower, 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.

Apprentice, Autonomous, DFT, Early Careers, Electrical Engineering, Electrified, Engineering, People, Software, Who We Are

Meet Our Pioneering Apprentices – Day 3 of 5

Simon FitzGerald is a Fifth Year Degree Apprentice in Electrical Engineering. Originally from an IT background, Simon is now an experienced member of our electrical team, and is working towards a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Warwick.

“For the past couple of years I have delivered the Interior Sensing Platform (ISP), ensuring high quality software delivery from suppliers, as well as making sure we have a robust plan to resolve technical issues. I planned the scope and delivery of upcoming software releases, analysing changes in requirements, resolving technical issues and tracking actions at a project level.”

“After leaving college I completed an IT apprenticeship and worked as an IT engineer for a few years. This served me well as it offered further learning opportunities and the prospect of real work with earning potential. Upon completing my IT apprenticeship, I soon felt I was lacking a challenge at work and began looking at future prospects including a new job role, university and higher apprenticeships.”

“The Jaguar Land Rover programme was absolutely the best option for me. I was excited to learn new skills that would be relevant to my career in engineering, whilst being challenged and rewarded for my efforts every day. Back then there wasn’t such a wide range of apprenticeships to choose from, so it’s been great to see the growth in popularity over the last five years.”

“What advice would I give to my younger self? ‘Go for it!’ In my experience, you will be rewarded for being pro-active in seeking out new opportunities and asking challenging questions both inside and outside the organisation. Initially I was more reluctant to speak up, particularly when dealing with suppliers. It was a daunting prospect to challenge engineers far more experienced than myself on what they were delivering. I was cautious about being seen as inexperienced, but the culture here really rewards that technical curiosity and drive. My professionalism and determination to improve our products has been met with incredible support and as a result I have achieved more than I ever thought possible.”

“What I love most about Jaguar Land Rover is the challenges that I face daily in this organisation. Every day is different, enabling me to develop and hone new skills in constructive and valuable ways.” 

Simon 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.

Apprentice, Body Engineering, Early Careers, Engineering, Featured-Lower, People, Who We Are

A day in the life of a second year apprentice


Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Yassmine, I am a second year degree apprentice with body engineering within the cockpit and climate team.

What does your typical day look like?

I am in the second year of my degree apprenticeship which means I spend one day a week at college and the rest at work. At college I am working on completing my foundation degree in engineering. This includes subjects such as mathematics, electronics, materials and CAE (computer aided engineering). My day to day work mainly consists of using a software called CATIA to do computer aided design. The project I am currently working on is redesigning a new speaker grille to be situated on the centre of the dashboard. This consists of scoping the project by comparing the component to existing JLR and competitor products, discussing design features with senior members of the cockpit and climate team, and also looking into materials, mechanics and manufacturing processes.

That sounds interesting, and working on future products…

Yeah, It’s very interesting. I find it really exciting that I am only in my second year and I am already working on components that could be used in future vehicles that haven’t been released yet.

What led you to an apprenticeship at Jaguar Land Rover?

I went to a standard sixth form where my goal was to complete my A-levels and go to university – as had been my plan for my whole secondary school life. However, after not achieving the grades I wanted, I moved to UTC Oxfordshire where I was introduced to the idea of an apprenticeship.

I still applied to university, but also found out about the degree apprenticeship scheme that Jaguar Land Rover offered. This  intrigued me as I’d have the opportunity to get six years of technical experience working in an engineering role, a competitive salary, a bachelor’s degree in applied engineering from the University of Warwick (which was my University of preference anyway) and a job in the automotive industry.

What did you study at UTC Oxfordshire?

I studied a level 3 BTEC in engineering in which I received a triple distinction star, and A-level mathematics where I received an A. The entry requirements for the degree apprenticeship were D*D*D* and at least a C in mathematics so I was overjoyed when I received the grades I did.

How does university fit into your work life?

I will be starting at the University of Warwick in September of this year where I will do a week at university, followed by 5 weeks at JLR. This will continue for the remaining four years of my apprenticeship. I am really looking forward to this as, although I know it will be challenging, I want to progress my engineering knowledge to a more professional level and use this to help me at work.

I will need to attend lectures and complete assignments and exams during this time whilst also working, so I know that this is going to be very difficult. However I do not expect anything to be easy on this scheme, after all being part of such a prestigious apprenticeship is going to come with some hurdles which I am prepared to face.

You recently spoke at the Duke of York awards, how did that come about?

Yes that’s right, whilst I was at UTC Oxfordshire I worked on obtaining a gold Duke of York award by documenting and proving the engineering knowledge and experience I had worked for over the past couple of years. I was then awarded with a gold Duke of York award in 2017 at St James’ Palace in London. As well as this, I was also given an outstanding achievement award for Women in Engineering alongside 3 other girls from my college in the same event which was a pleasant surprise for us.

In January of 2019, representatives from the Baker Dearing Trust reached out to UTC Oxfordshire to invite us back to the Duke of York Awards to speak as UTC alumni. I attended this on the 30th January where I spoke about how the UTC helped me get to where I am now, and why I chose the degree apprenticeship route with Jaguar Land Rover.

Are you enjoying your Apprenticeship?

I really do enjoy it, I find exceptionally interesting and I’m learning and developing different skills every day. Having spent a year and a half on the apprenticeship scheme I cannot possibly imagine having followed a different route. This is because after gaining independence and a respectful role in a business such as this one I could not imagine myself going back to full time education as this would feel like backtracking to me.

I am looking forward to the remainder of my apprenticeship where I will be able to start studying for my Bachelor’s degree in applied engineering from the University of Warwick, as well as going on placement within other engineering departments at Jaguar Land Rover.

What advice would you give to someone considering options after school?

To me, this opportunity was a no-brainer! On the one hand, I had the option of going to university and studying full time, getting a degree within 3-4 years, and ending up in a lot of debt. On the other hand was this apprenticeship scheme which would take 6 years where I would get experience working in an engineering role, a generous salary, a fully funded degree from a Russell Group university, and the beginnings of a career.

I would suggest making sure you look into every available pathway and the specific benefits they could have for you. For the vast majority of my education I was focused on going down the standard University route and it was only within the last six months or so of my education that I decided on doing an apprenticeship and I’m so glad that I did. A degree apprenticeship at Jaguar Land Rover was a great option for me.