Hello, I Am Lauren
I had always wanted to get a degree but had enjoyed working from a relatively young age. I was worried that University wouldn't offer me enough structure and opportunity to get the crucial real-life business exposure that you can get with an apprenticeship, and so I chose to do an apprenticeship as it provided the perfect opportunity for me to combine my enjoyment of both studying and working.
Tell us more about your experience
My job is very varied, and my day-to-day responsibilities differ depending on which part of the business I am working in. During my apprenticeship I complete numerous placements around the business, usually lasting 3 months. Most of these placements are based at MINI Plant Oxford but I have also had the opportunity to work at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and BMW Summit One, Farnborough, as well as to visit Plants Swindon and Hams Hall.
The placements I have completed so far include Supplied Parts Quality Management for MINI and Rolls-Royce, Product (Vehicle) Audit, Quality Management for Body in White, Finance, Logistics, Marketing, Communications and Strategy. In each of these departments I have taken on a variety of different roles and responsibilities. I have also been given the opportunity to make substantial business improvements through projects and tasks that I am set by the managers of each placement. Some key examples include logistics: creating Key Process Indicator dashboards for the department to track management of lineside part stock supply- Parts, Quality Management: development of an invoice processing and tracking system for cost breakdown reporting, Finance: Complete restructure of department server to implement a new way of storing and accessing departmental data, Communications: Creation of the 2022 festive year end video to be distributed Plant wide to all associates. Support of the Oxford Community Emergency Foodbank (CEF) social drive project, visiting the foodbank, defining the process for supplying donated goods and creating an opportunity for apprentices to support the project every Monday by pairing up with senior management to deliver donations weekly. Marketing: Presenting to the Financial Services Management Committee about my role as an apprentice and the apprentice contribution to BMW Group to increase awareness of apprentices and their role within the company.
There have been many highlights in my apprenticeship, but the one that stands out most is the ability to participate in our internal UK Apprentice Newsletter team, which I now lead alongside a fellow apprentice from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. This involves working with apprentices from across the UK to create a newsletter that summarizes what all the apprentices have been up to each month. We then distribute this throughout the entire internal BMW Group UK network. This opportunity allows me to meet other apprentices, learn about how they are contributing to the group and apply my creative skills to something that is very well-received by associates at all levels. It gives me an opportunity to do something that I enjoy, while also benefiting the company.
I would say the biggest challenge of my career so far has been learning to take responsibility for my own projects and self-management not only in the workplace but also outside of the workplace to complete my university work as well as fulfilling my job requirements. As an apprentice I really like to embrace every opportunity I get, and this can often mean that the workload is very high. Work is extremely supportive whenever I have questions and require assistance but for me, I think the challenge has been developing the confidence to not only proactively seek opportunities but to also proactively manage them, for example by asking questions when required. This is something I have been able to work on significantly during my apprenticeship but am looking forwards to continually developing as I complete the final year/s of my apprenticeship.
BMW Group offer consistent support throughout the apprenticeship. This includes support from the apprentice training team, placement managers and other apprentices too - there is always someone to talk to! Abingdon and Witney College are also very helpful as a training provider and the tutors are highly approachable and supportive.
Our employers are always available to discuss the end of our apprenticeships with. As we come to the end of our apprenticeship, we settle into our full-time role placements in order to gain the relevant skills and experience required to fulfil that job role. We also prepare ourselves for the End Point Assessment which involves collating our work and experiences as apprentices and through our degrees to evidence what we have achieved during our apprenticeship.
“I would advise anyone considering an apprenticeship to take the leap and do it.”
They are an extremely effective way to develop yourself not only intellectually but on a working level too as you are able to apply everything you learn to a business environment. It is hard to emphasize just how much you can develop when you are exposed to the working world as an apprentice!