Pheobe talked to us as part of National Apprenticeships Week, to see more videos from this series please go to our Apprenticeships page.
“In my job I am very lucky that my office window looks out onto the docks, so I am able to physically see what I am working with.”
Why did you choose the engineering apprenticeship at DE&S?
I first became quite close to the military in the Royal Marine Voluntary Cadet Corp, which I attended for six years. This drove me to pursue a career in the military. However I didn’t like the thought of going away for long periods of time, so I changed my career path to engineering.
I completed my A-levels in Maths, 3D Design and Public Services and found the DE&S Engineering Management apprenticeship on the Civil Service website. DE&S sounded perfect from the previous experience that I had. DE&S enabled me to gain experience and vital skills to be a professional engineering manager. The job enables me to work alongside the Royal Navy giving support to defence equipment.
What does the engineering apprenticeship entail?
In the apprenticeship, I have recently finished college, completing Level 3 Business and Technology Education Council (BTECS) in engineering and learning some basic hand and machining skills. In phases 2 and 3 I will go on 3 placements in different areas of the dockyard, undertaking different roles enabling me to gain experience and skills.
I have now started my first placement in HMNB Devonport working alongside HMS Talent. During my placements, I will complete my National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 3 and complete a Higher National Certificate (HNC). Once I have completed the apprenticeship I will be able to apply for a band D role in the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
What are the opportunities to develop and progress after the engineering apprenticeship?
The apprenticeship itself gives you so much support to achieve your goals. The scheme involves educating and supporting you throughout the three years to the role of a band D. You are given daily support by colleagues in your work placement and mentoring by college staff and line manager to make sure that you are reaching objectives that you have set.
After the apprenticeship, there are many ways to develop and progress within DE&S by going onto development schemes such as graduate schemes.
What do you most enjoy about the engineering apprenticeship?
In my job I am very lucky that my office window looks out onto the docks, so I am able to physically see what I am working with. This is very important to me, as it’s amazing to think that the work I am completing is supporting the Armed Forces. The most enjoyable thing is getting to go down on the submarines regularly to see the work that is being carried out.
What’s the greatest achievement as a DE&S engineering apprentice to date?
During my apprenticeship, I had to carry out a community project at a local primary school in the Plymouth area. This involved all of my group rebuilding a nature area for the children. My task was to make a bug hotel. I found this task challenging, as I had very little experience in wood construction, so after research and prototypes I managed to complete my task and the outcome was successful.
Why would you recommend DE&S to others as a great place to work?
DE&S is a great company to work for because it gives you so many opportunities to broaden your knowledge in different areas, including surface ships, submarines, infrastructure, health & safety and logistics. This shows that DE&S is able to cater for anyone’s needs, allowing you to change your career path around the company.
What are the social benefits of working for DE&S?
Working for DE&S enables you to get the Defence Discount card which offers endless discounts for restaurants, car hire companies, cinema tickets, retail shops and hotels. As well as receiving discounts, HMNB Devonport has a gym on base which is a high class sporting facility at a reasonable membership price. The gym also offers lots of fitness classes and activities that you can partake in, such as rock climbing, yoga, swimming, squash, football and athletics.