Guest Blog by Alex Deakin, Degree Apprentice, Jaguar Land Rover
4 years as a Jaguar Land Rover Apprentice - Worth it.
Hello everyone I hope you are getting stuck into the National apprenticeship week festivities. I am an engineering apprentice who has been working at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) for the last 4 years. I am working in the supplier technical assistance department that deals with supply chain issues and ensures quality parts are delivered to the assembly line. At the same time, I am completing my degree at Warwick University which is sponsored by the company so is fantastic in that respect.
The best thing about working at Jaguar Land Rover is working on luxury products and knowing that you made a small contribution to the final outcome. As an example I was working on onboarding suppliers with a project management tool for the new electric Jaguar I-Pace that was launched on March the 1st this year. I can therefore say I had a part to do with the making of that! The hardest part of being an apprentice is it can be difficult at times to balance working full time and studying. There are some other apprentices who have young kids and I honestly don't know how they manage it! In the end though it is definitely worth it because you get sponsored through the degree and get paid really well. My starting salary was around £18,000 and I am now on over £25,000, not bad after coming straight out of A-levels.
Apprenticeships are definitely a great alternative to going the university route because you get to earn while you learn. You also get the real work experience that makes you just as, if not more, employable than people who have just gone to university. I think that the government push to have more apprenticeships is a good thing but I would be careful to ensure that if you are interested in doing an apprenticeship yourself you apply for a "quality apprenticeship". Try to ensure that you too get just as much out of the apprenticeship as your employer gets from you. Fortunately if you are interested in engineering most firms have had a culture of "growing their own" employees for decades and so are experienced with having and keeping apprentices. At JLR I have the pleasure of working with someone who actually started out as an apprentice with the company just over 50 years ago, phenomenal.
In summery for me I would say becoming an engineering apprentice has been totally worth it. It has kick-started my career, gained me invaluable industry experience and been a really interesting last 4 years.