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.