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

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

You’re probably thinking of going to university. Or maybe you’re about to leave the family nest, in search of education and an adventure. I certainly know that feeling. I’m sure you’re thinking about how to put your best foot forward as you step out into the big bad world, how to get the best out of your chosen career and how to best reach your potential.

Let me introduce myself, and I’ll share how I’m trying to do just that myself. My name is Callum, aged 20, I joined David Game College in 2017, I studied A-level maths and as I grew into the year, I found the concept of taking out enormous loans to further my education less and less enticing. In addition, through the variety of voluntary projects I’ve been involved in, I discovered how satisfying it is to work with your hands; building, making, creating and decided I wanted to continue learning in this way.

I began investigating apprenticeships in early October 2017.

An apprenticeship, in case you don’t know, is a course of study you can take under the employment of a business or institution, where you work and study for recognised qualifications. You’ll receive on-the-job training for your chosen career path, and get paid for your time. In addition to gaining an income and the associated responsibilities of this (paying for your board and lodgings for one) I found there were many, many benefits to studying this way, a debt-free degree being foremost among them. For example, on the scheme I’ve been accepted on (Vehicle Engineering with Jaguar Land Rover) I’ll receive a BEng in Applied Engineering from the University of Warwick (one of the Russell group Universities, which has a fantastic engineering and maths department) saving me up to £80,000 over 4 years. Best of all, an Apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to learn, grow, mature and take responsibility in a working environment in a way that going to university the “normal way” just does not.

I started my apprenticeship on the 3rd of September, commencing with an induction week at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. Here I received excellent motivational speeches, inspirational lessons on the separate design languages of Jaguar and Land Rover, and had lots of opportunities to network and make friends with my newfound workmates. I received my uniform, which I am to wear to college and work, and met my line manager, who will be responsible for my development and training for the next 6 years.

We also had two very special presentations, one by James Barclay (the Team Director of Jaguar Panasonic Racing Team) and another by the Chief Program Engineer of the brand new Jaguar I-PACE, Jaguars first All-Electric Performance SUV. I then spent the week beginning the 10th of September at Warwickshire Trident College, completing assessments, learning about the company ethos and endeavouring to create an open and inclusive learning environment.

I started my studies in September, and have so far done 3 week blocks of study in Hand Fitting and Electronics. In hand fitting I learned metalwork (the very basics of modern engineering) and in electronics I learned basic soldering techniques and how to build working electronic circuits and logic gates. The work I’m completing right now is of a difficulty between GCSE and A-Level. Next week I’ll be starting an academic block, with Material Sciences, Maths, Physics, Automotive Engineering & Electrical Engineering all on the menu.

As I write this, I’m having a week’s work experience at Gaydon (where I’ll be based as of next year) working with the ‘home department’ I’ve been assigned to. I’ve linked up with my manager and the rest of the team, I’m working with current apprentices and graduates. I get the opportunity to experience what I’ll be doing during and after my apprenticeship, learning from experienced professionals, many of whom were apprentices and so understand what it’s like starting out at a large company. I know that they’re all around to help me if I need it, as we’re all part of a team, each individual is important at Jaguar Land Rover. Using our skills and talents, to create fantastic products for our customers.

Callum,
Jaguar Land Rover Degree Apprentice.


Considering an apprenticeship?

We want to transform the automotive landscape and shape the future of mobility – so our early careers training programmes are the route to an inspired career. Each is designed to give you the ideal mix of on-the-job training and focused, classroom-based learning.

Find out more

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

Make it yours. My first week at Jaguar Land Rover.

Whenever embarking on a new journey there is always excitement, there is always hope and there is always a little apprehension. Starting a new job is no different and that is exactly how I felt as I drove into car park B at the Ricoh Arena for my first day at Jaguar Land Rover.

Come the end of the week, the excitement was multiplied and the apprehension was quashed. As I drove back to Manchester after my first week in the Midlands, I thought about how lucky and proud I was to join this company, to meet all of my colleagues and to make all of the new friends I had.

The first three days of the induction week were held at the Ricoh Arena. We were told of the 35,000 applicants for the 500 odd apprentice and graduate roles and it reinforced the privilege of the position we were in. During the 3 days we would be addressed by key members of the business to teach us what it meant to be part of JLR. From inspiring talks from Dr Gillian Mara to charismatic presentations from lead designers, each session was insightful and engaging. We had the rare opportunity to question programme leader, Russ Varney, on the brand new I-PACE as well as learning more about the Motorsport side of the business, looking at Formula E and the I-PACE eTROPHY.

Beyond the presentations, we also had the opportunity to learn more about the business itself and the specific schemes in place, from learning how the company implements continuous improvement, to putting together a timeline of the rich history of Jaguar and Land Rover. The induction was extremely well run and thanks goes to all of the organisers, everyone who gave presentations and the apprentice team. It was a start that I’m sure we will never forget.

Beyond the general induction for all apprentices and graduates, we spent 2 days on site at Gaydon in our departments. I am in the body engineering department and it seems like it was the best choice for me. Including me there were 28 people welcomed into the department with engaging and educational activities which gave us many key messages. From ice breakers which showed us that by working as a team we could improve performance by over 50%, to presentations which showed us that customers are the main driver of change, it was a great 2 days of meeting everyone we will be working with for the next 6 years. It was clear each activity was extremely well planned which was evident during my favourite activity of the 2 days – static vehicle benchmarking. Waiting for us in the car park were 8 different vehicles which we could play with: what could be better? By comparing our products with our competitors, we gained an appreciation for the market and the interesting obstacles we will be working to overcome as part of JLR. Thanks goes to Ajmeer, Rumon, Jack and everyone from the body engineering department for their hospitality and work they put in to welcome us to the team.

It’s safe to say that the first week at JLR exceeded all expectations. The key message from the event was to “make it yours”, and as we start on this journey, this week empowered me to try my best to make it mine.


Consider an apprenticeship and #ThinkBeyond

We want to transform the automotive landscape and shape the future of mobility – so our early careers training programmes are the route to an inspired career. Each is designed to give you the ideal mix of on-the-job training and focused, classroom-based learning.

Find out more


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

Meet Our Pioneering Apprentices – Day 1 of 5

At Jaguar Land Rover we think it’s so important to have a diverse mix of views, perspectives and experiences. Our apprentices are in a truly unique position, where they gain theoretical knowledge which they can practically apply to make our cars even better every day. Early on in my career I was lucky enough to experience these benefits first-hand.

When I started as a kid in the 1980s I wanted to do electronics, and after my O-Levels at school I secured a place on an electronics apprenticeship, at what was then British Leyland in Oxford. As a 16-year-old it was a dream job, but it wasn’t to be. I discovered I was colour blind, and when you’re working with wiring you need to be able to tell the difference between red and green, so I couldn’t have the job.

Despite being deeply disappointed, I was then offered a role as a body engineer. This new role gave me all sorts of opportunities, for example crash testing and optimising the body structure of the vehicle. I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did. I always say to people ‘don’t try to plan your career, just do the best you can and take every opportunity to learn’. I am truly grateful for all the experiences I had as an apprentice; they gave me a really solid grounding in a wide range of engineering disciplines and I learned so much about the business.

Today our apprentices are a crucial part of our engineering organisation. Their roles range from mechatronics maintenance and running test rigs, to software engineering, design and development. We have an industry-leading completion rate with 90 per cent of all apprentices completing their programme, compared to a national average of 67 per cent.

As skills shortages continue to grow as an industry wide issue, I firmly believe we should be encouraging more bright young people to consider an apprenticeship as a route into engineering.

Don’t just take my word for it. Starting tomorrow, and every day for the rest of the week, I will be sharing an article about one of our pioneering apprentices in Product Engineering, inviting them to share their experiences about their apprenticeship journey so far. Hopefully you find their insights as inspiring as I did!   

To find out more about the apprenticeship programmes we currently offer at Jaguar Land Rover, check out our careers website.

Apprentice, Body Engineering, Early Careers, Engineering, Learning and Development, People, Who We Are

Degree Apprenticeship Vs University

When I told people that I wasn’t going to university, I was met with surprise and confusion. “But you have to go to uni…” Etc. Etc. This quickly changed to intrigue when I then said that I would be getting a degree and that I would be paid to do it. University was somewhat of a pre-requisite at the school I attended. You did your GCSE’s and then your A-levels and then you went to university. It’s just what everyone did. (Well, it was either that or you could take a year out to “find yourself” before inevitably taking up a place at university the year after). I always liked to be different, to take an alternative path.

There was a lot of thought that went into deciding to go for a degree apprentice route and many factors which I had to consider. First of all however, it was about finding the opportunity that was right for me. I was in a fortunate position and I knew what I wanted to do. In that respect, the degree apprentice route was perfect for me. I knew I wanted to be an engineer, I enjoyed both maths and physics and the most important thing, I was passionate about STEM. Passion is the most important asset you can have when applying to a degree apprenticeship course, grades are good but at the end of the day, they are only letters on a piece of paper. What will really make you stand out is your experience, having evidence to back up your passion. In my case, I was an Arkwright scholar, a Teen tech National winner, a Big Bang Fair National Winner and a Land Rover in school’s World Finalist. Investing your time into enrichment schemes like these is a great way of getting valuable experience. (I’ll write a future blog going into more depth on how I got the apprenticeship – spoiler: I was rejected the first time).

Many companies offer degree level apprenticeships and many more will do in the future, due to the government’s apprenticeship levy. Whilst this is generally good news, I would be wary of new schemes and research each one properly. For me, the company was absolutely key. JLR is a fantastic forward thinking company which values it’s employees as it’s most valuable asset. After less than a week here, it already feels like home.

Whilst researching each apprenticeship on offer, the most important consideration was the institution that the degree was being offered by. While this may not be important for many people, it was essential for me that the partner university was one that I would consider applying to through UCAS. This narrowed down the options significantly as I could only find 2 schemes which met my criteria. Jaguar Land Rover and Dyson. Both schemes work closely with Warwick University, currently a top 10 university. I successfully applied to both schemes, which were both amazing opportunities in their own right. The choice between the 2 companies were personal decisions based on the location and loyalty to JLR through the Land Rover in schools challenge I am still a part of. Either would have been an honour to be part of and I realise how lucky I was to have the task of making that decision. I also successfully applied to 5 universities through UCAS for mechanical engineering (Warwick, Durham, Leeds, Bath and Bristol), so why did I reject all 5 for a degree apprenticeship?

With degree apprenticeships, all of the hard work is done prior to the offer with tests and interviews being part of the recruitment process. This means for me, to attend Warwick university through UCAS I would need to achieve A*A*A in my a level examinations. To join the Jaguar Land Rover course the requirement was two C’s or above. This offer took some of the pressure off my A level studies and allowed me to spend more time on more STEM enrichment courses as this is what I enjoyed and was passionate about. I was however, determined to still get the best grades I could and scored A*A*A*A.

Secondly, the experience of working on real life projects whilst learning was very appealing. This was made especially clear at the Warwick University open day, ironically enough. Whilst talking to one of the mechanical engineering students there, he told me that he spends his summers on graduate placement schemes at JLR. His words to me were that he learnt more on those placements than the whole time he was at university – and I knew from then that I had to get on to the degree apprenticeship course. The opportunities and skills I could learn were

Probably the most attractive offering from the degree apprenticeship schemes is being paid to learn. And the massive advantage over university is that I won’t have £60k worth of debt – I will be in the black. The salaries offered are very generous and I will try very hard to not be smug in front of my university going friends.

Having been in the education system for the majority of my life, I also felt that the degree apprenticeship would be an opportunity to become an adult and to be treated as one. I want to be responsible for real life projects and make a real difference and that’s something a degree apprenticeship can offer me.

Opting for a degree apprenticeship is definitely the harder option over university. Balancing the work load with school studies will be intense and it will be difficult. But that’s what it’s all about and I can’t wait. University has many advantages over degree apprenticeships. The scope of courses they offer is huge and if you don’t know what career you want to go into then university is the best place to find out. It’s also a great place for personal development with lots of off term time, it can be a place to find and develop new hobbies. Compared with the average of 28 days annual leave on a degree apprenticeship scheme, university clearly allows more time for extra curricular activities.

With both options, there is an opportunity to move away from home, to meet new people and to grow. The degree apprenticeship was right for me for all the above reasons. It might just be right for you too.


Have you seen our degree apprenticeships?

As a degree apprentice, you’ll help us by preparing for your future and developing the skills to build everyone else’s. You’ll combine learning at the prestigious University of Warwick with a real job working on active projects at Jaguar Land Rover.

Find out more


Autonomous, Electrical Engineering, Engineering, Featured, People, Shannon, Software, Technology, Who We Are

THE REAL FACES OF JLR – Michael Starr

Why did you choose to apply for your role at Jaguar Land Rover?

I suppose it’s to move up a level and get the full vehicle infrastructure view. Working for a component supplier it’s interesting but you’re not aware of the wider ecosystem of what happens in the car, moving up into an OEM you see all of that cool stuff that’s happening. We’re doing all sorts of things here like blockchain and cloud computing.

The work that Jaguar Land Rover are doing here is so exciting and cutting edge that across all sorts of software industries news spread quickly.

Do you feel like you’re part of a transformation?

Absolutely! Within JLR there is a move to develop more cutting edge software but also within the industry it’s the move to autonomous driving. It’s on multiple levels.

Describe the culture here in the West of Ireland software hub.

The culture is very supportive of creativity and taking ownership of tasks yourself. Innovation is also a big thing and also process is a big one. With good process that empowers engineers to make their own decisions and steer their own path but also set clear gates maintain quality, safety and reliability

What type of person will succeed here?

If you’re creative and can act and push things forward yourself without waiting to be told you’ll succeed here.

Were you a car person before you came here?

Not a car person at all actually, purely into the image analysis and signal processing analytics side. I get asked that a lot actually.

Have you become one?

Absolutely, it’s hard not to when you see some of the vehicles JLR have.