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.
Jaguar Land Rover Degree Apprentice.
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