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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.”

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It’s a great environment to ask questions and develop myself.

Software Engineer Jack Young talks about the responsibility that Jaguar Land Rover has given in during his apprenticeship:

“Of all the apprenticeships I applied for, JLR was the first interview I attended and ended up being my top choice so I’m incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to work here.

I have always been a bit of a geek, having studied Computer Science at both GCSE and A Level. I tend to always get drawn to the techy side of things, even while working as a lifeguard I seemed to assume the role of tech support so it’s not surprising that I have ended up where I am.

I have always been keen to learn about and have the latest technology. Jaguar Land Rover really helps me fulfil that desire. We are more than just are a car company now and it shows in the work that I have been doing; it feels great to be able to push such an iconic company further towards the future.

It has been difficult to keep up with all the new technologies being used within the company and adapting my basic knowledge of programming to the automotive world, but everyone at JLR and the University of Warwick have provided a great environment to ask questions and develop myself. I have already had the opportunity to lead a feature’s development from a marketing idea all the way to designing the software; I struggle to believe many companies would let a first year apprentice do work like this. It is amazing how much responsibility I have been given having only been here for 16 months.

On the other side of things, I was invited to talk on two podcasts and even speak on a panel at the Higher & Degree Apprenticeships Conference in December 2019. Within 4 months of starting the course, I was given the opportunity to network with people from many different industries and job roles and it has been a great way to develop myself.

There has been a great balance of technical and professional development and I have really appreciated that.”

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There’s always someone to talk to.

Ellen, one of our DTS Apprentices in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) tells us about one of her favourite parts of life at JLR:

“I was keen to get involved with the apprentice forum since I first started at JLR. They hosted a great tour around Gaydon for us and set us up in a ‘Buddy system’ so we had an older apprentice to talk to.

Unfortunately, at the time, this was limited to just the EVE (electrical and vehicle) department so I knew some friends of mine had missed out. This is what inspired me to get involved in the forum so that we could expand our outreach to future apprentices in all departments. I was able to get involved as both the social rep and as one of the two DTS reps.

This has been one of my favourite parts of joining the business as I have been able to meet many more people than I otherwise would have. So far this year, my friend and I have set up a cohort wide buddy system and organised a small, socially distanced meet up for the new apprentices. In the future, I hope to organise a variety of activities/sports events/nights out/learning/relaxing events for apprentices in all years.”