Life of a Jaguar Land Rover Apprentice
Callum joined us in 2017 and went on to study an Advanced Apprenticeship at Warwick University with Jaguar & Land Rover. Follow his journey so far with his blog posts here.
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 Redmond, 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 Warwick University (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 on 17th 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 (beginning 5/11) 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 Redmond, Jaguar Land Rover Degree Apprentice.
I’m delighted to say that things are going well. I’m doing well at college, I recently had my behavioural review with my Work Based Learning Manager, which went well and was an excellent opportunity to get to know him better, which I really appreciated.
Since our last post, I’ve been in what’s called HE. HE is the academic portion of my foundation degree, with classes in Maths, Electrical Principles, Automotive Technology and Materials. I enjoy these lessons, the classes are small and I get to ask lots of questions if I don’t understand a topic or specific area of study. The lecturers are all ex-engineers, something I didn’t expect when I first came here. Many of my lecturers have experience in the automotive industry and I think this benefits us as apprentices, as being able to learn from these motivated, dedicated professionals gives us a great example and contributes to a better working and learning environment.
After HE, before we broke up for Christmas, I had a practical block: Automotive Electrical Maintenance. In this block I learned about the electrical components of an internal combustion engine, primarily the starter motor and alternator. I think I’m really benefitting from the teaching methods employed at the college. Learning the theory and then going straight into practical blocks really helps deepen my understanding, as I get to see first-hand the application of the engineering principles I’m learning about.
I returned to work after Christmas on January 2nd to a health and wellbeing event put on by the college and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). This was, by my estimation, truly excellent. The past three days have been eye-opening in parts, profound in others, and very beneficial to me and to the wider apprentice cohort. The JLRInfo team, who are based at the college and who organised the event, had listened to suggestions made by apprentices after the induction week back in September, and organised the event so that we moved between presentations from the invited speakers in smaller groups, as opposed to us all being in the conference room for the entire event.
I really appreciated that the organisers of the event had listened to feedback intently, and had acted upon that information. I think this is reflective of the attitude that our managers have towards us as apprentices, we are treated as professionals that have ideas to contribute, we’re treated as valuable assets, as part of the team.
One of the key reasons I chose to join Jaguar Land Rover, ahead of other organisations, was the biography of Nick Rogers, Executive Director of Product Engineering, written on the Jaguar Land Rover Corporate website. This biography details Nick Rogers’ career at JLR, who I discovered began as an apprentice in 1984. This fact that an apprentice could rise to the executive level suggested to me that Jaguar Land Rover fosters an environment of respect for apprentices and trust in their capabilities. The health and wellbeing event proved this to me; Jaguar Land Rover cares about each and every one of us as individuals.
At the event, representatives from HSBC gave us advice on how to use our pay to save for a home and retirement, we had sessions on Drug, Alcohol & Gambling addiction, and we were introduced to BEN, a charity that offers support to members of the automotive industry. BEN concentrates on 4 elements of health and wellbeing, physical, mental, social and even financial health and wellbeing. We had a powerful session delivered by Warwickshire Fire Department called the Fatal Four about the four actions that lead to deaths in road traffic accidents; speed, distractions, not wearing a seatbelt and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This session was truly harrowing in places, graphic and made me think a lot about the risks involved when driving, in a group of our size, I do not think it unreasonable to suggest that this session could save lives.
My favourite parts of the health and wellbeing event were two presentations from current JLR employees. The first was from an employee who joined the army at aged 17, fought in Iraq and Afghanistan but suffered with stage 4 post-traumatic stress disorder. He spoke to us about competing at the Invictus Games, his recovery and journey to working at JLR. The day after we heard from another employee about the support JLR gives to its employees about stress and the work which is done to promote good health and wellbeing.
I’d like to leave this month with a quote that I think epitomises the Health and Wellbeing event. This quote was mentioned in an email from Dr. Ralf Speth to all employees on World Mental Health Day 2018:
“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together”
Jaguar Land Rover Degree Apprentice