Raytheon UK

Raytheon UK is one of our key employer partners. We have been working with them for a number of years as they have taken on Graduate Apprentices, primarily in Engineering Design & Manufacture.

We're delighted to share some insight from some of our GA students and on the employer side, from Raytheon itself. The case studies below are a great example of how Graduate Apprenticeships can provide a career pathway for people from a broad range of different backgrounds.

Olivia Ewan, Engineering Design & Manufacture – Electronic Graduate Apprentice

In this case study we hear from Olivia Ewan from Raytheon. Olivia is a third year student on our Engineering Design & Manufacture – Electronic Graduate Apprenticeship. 

Please explain how you found the Graduate Position and give some background as to what you were doing prior to being offered the Graduate Apprenticeship position.

On leaving school, I initially decided to join the Royal Navy as a Marine Engineer Submariner and completed an extensive set of tests and training towards achieving this goal. During my final training, I realised being away from home for extended periods of time wasn't going to be for me and decided to look for similar roles more locally. It was a family friend who worked on site in Glenrothes who first highlighted Raytheon's apprenticeship opportunities to me.

Whilst searching for an apprenticeship that appealed to me, I spent time working in a post office so I did not begin my working life in an engineering related role at all!

What were the benefits of the Graduate Apprenticeship programme that attracted you the most?

From my time at school and through my Navy training I knew engineering was the sector I wished to start my career in, so Raytheon's Graduate Manufacturing Apprenticeship Scheme attracted me initially. In this day and age, it is assumed all students dream of heading off to study full time at university when they finish high school but for me this was not the case. The idea of working whilst also gaining a qualification appealed to me far more and the hands-on aspect of the job role was a huge attraction.

An obvious benefit is the lack of student debt and the opportunity to get paid whilst also studying towards a degree. I also felt that by working as well as studying my interest levels would be kept high and I would constantly be learning new knowledge and skills throughout the programme. The academic side is of course important, but nothing compares to actually being emersed in the job and learning as you go. I also feel it will only benefit me having been in an engineer's role in the longer term when I come to look for a permanent position as well.

Please describe what you are employed to do and how you have coped with the challenges of learning new skills whilst studying towards a degree.

Currently I am a Manufacturing Apprentice and am just beginning a longer term placement focusing on the test side of engineering. I have found studying alongside working a seamless process thus far and I can only hope this continues in my final two years of study. As the vast majority of the teaching during the course is directly related to the work carried out by Raytheon, I have not faced any difficulties in being able to complete reports known as “work-based learning”. These reports accumulate to a large percentage of the marks allocated to each course and help us student to gain hands on, work related experiences of the topics covered during lectures. This setup has therefore helped me to cope with working and studying in unison as the two essentially run side by side and interconnect with one another at regular stages.

What is your proudest achievement to date in your role and can you explain how this impacted on your working environment and or helped deliver results on behalf of your organisation?

Being awarded best in class for year 1 of university has been a definite highlight of the apprenticeship scheme so far for myself. After being out of an education environment for over two years prior to undertaking the apprenticeship, I was initially a little apprehensive as to whether I would pick the necessary skills back up quickly in order to excel at university. To receive such an award was therefore a huge confidence boost to remind myself that with hard work comes great reward and only gave me the desire to strive to work even harder both at university and at Raytheon moving forward.

What are your future career hopes and goals on completion of the Graduate Apprenticeship? 

I hope to get a permanent job within Raytheon once I complete my degree. I am learning their ways of working throughout the duration of the apprenticeship scheme which will hopefully benefit me in the running for a job when the time comes.

If I had followed the traditional route, I wouldn't have built up a relationship with a company within the industry I am studying and so would be starting to look for a job completely from scratch. That is another huge benefit to the apprenticeship scheme as by the end of my degree I will already have 4 years of industry experience that I would not have had in the traditional sense.

Can you outline what support and/or encouragement your employer has given you in your GA journey?

Raytheon provides any support necessary to help me through my degree and the apprenticeship scheme they run in general. I have a workplace mentor assigned to me who I have regular meetings with. She gives me advice on both the university side and the work I do on site and is always willing to help me when necessary. My line manager is also extremely supportive and asks for regular updates as to how I am doing within the workplace and at university. I feel completely comfortable to go to either of these people for assistance when I need it and they have both been extremely supportive and encouraging the whole way through the apprenticeship so far.

As Raytheon has now taken on a number of apprentices, we have peers who are in 3rd, 2nd and 1st year at the university. Each and every fellow apprentice is willing to offer support to one another where required which has also proved extremely helpful. It is really beneficial to have a number of people who are currently in or have been in the same position as you to ask for advice.

How would you sum up your GA experience so far?

A great experience with a huge amount of learning for which I am thankful I have been given the opportunity to be a part of.

Liam Penn, Engineering Design & Manufacture – Electronic Graduate Apprentice

In this case study we hear from Liam Penn from Raytheon. Liam is a fourth year student on our Engineering Design & Manufacture – Electronic Graduate Apprenticeship.

Please explain how you found the Graduate Position and give some background as to what you were doing prior to being offered the Graduate Apprenticeship position.  

I found out about the previous Raytheon Apprentice program from an Engineering Manager and Senior Engineer while I was working as a production operator. Raytheon then offered all current apprentices to swap from the MA to the GA programme.

What were the benefits of the Graduate Apprenticeship programme that attracted you the most?

From previous experience of being at University, I wasn't interested in undertaking full time classroom learning again. The GA program was attractive as it provided me a full time position in a company where I would gain experience and responsibility while also being able to attain a degree while earning a salary.

Please describe what you are employed to do and how you have coped with the challenges of learning new skills whilst studying towards a degree.

My current job title is Production Specialist Senior, or just Graduate Apprentice.

My current job role entails ownership, support and improvements on a Raytheon Global Sensors program primarily in test engineering with alongside manufacturing support.

What is your proudest achievement to date in your role and can you explain how this impacted on your working environment and or helped deliver results on behalf of your organisation?

My proudest achievement would be the ownership and set-up of new manufacturing program on a new manufacturing site which is a new business/customers for the company. Other major achievement would be becoming SME for 3D Printing for our site which contributes to manufacturing and design groups.

What are your future career hopes and goals on completion of the Graduate Apprenticeship?

Upon completion of the GA program would be move into a full engineering role in either test or manufacturing.

This would differ from a traditional route into employment after a traditional degree where you would become a Graduate Engineer for a further 2 years before moving into an engineering role.

Can you outline what support and/or encouragement your employer has given you in your GA journey?

My employer has provided me valuable on the job experience and development opportunities that has allowed me to develop within an engineering role as well as giving me ownership and responsibility for projects and contracts that are important to the business. 

How would you sum up your GA experience so far?

The GA program has provided me with a route to gaining experience and a degree that provides learning and development opportunities that are significantly more relevant to the workplace than a traditional undergraduate degree.

Ian Seath, Engineering Design & Manufacture – Electronic Graduate Apprentice

In this case study we hear from Ian Seath from Raytheon. Ian is a third year student on our Engineering Design & Manufacture – Electronic Graduate Apprenticeship.

Please explain how you found the Graduate Position and give some background as to what you were doing prior to being offered the Graduate Apprenticeship position.  

I was already employed by Raytheon for 3 years prior to hearing of an opportunity during a companywide meeting. I enquired about age restrictions as normal apprenticeships are usually under 25s.

What were the benefits of the Graduate Apprenticeship programme that attracted you the most?

As a father with 3 children it would give me the opportunity to re-educate whilst receiving a salary to support my family.

Please describe what you are employed to do and how you have coped with the challenges of learning new skills whilst studying towards a degree.

I am employed as a Graduate Manufacturing Apprentice and my role is to support various engineers and functions.

I currently work on a 12-week rotation where I work in different departments with aim to support. I have coped well with learning new skills and received positive feedback on my work ethic and accomplishments.

What is your proudest achievement to date in your role and can you explain how this impacted on your working environment and or helped deliver results on behalf of your organisation?

With support training I was able to program a Universal Robot with a Vision System attached. Then used the system to perform an automated project. This gave us additional ideas on the Organisations vision of implementing Factory 4.0 and help with automated process improvement.

What are your future career hopes and goals on completion of the Graduate Apprenticeship?

I envision a future career within a Production Engineering role after completion of the Graduate Apprenticeship. This wouldn't be possible to achieve if I didn't go through the Graduate Apprenticeship role as I'm not able to take the route via a full-time undergraduate programme with family commitments.

Can you outline what support and/or encouragement your employer has given you in your GA journey?

Raytheon has given financial support with literature and on project materials. My manager has given encouragement on my personal development and organised skills development courses during worktime.

How would you sum up your GA experience so far?

If it wasn't for the Graduate Apprenticeship programme, I would have missed out on the opportunity to advance my development within Raytheon. The position didn't have an age restriction, so after discussion with my wife I decided to go for it.

Raytheon, employer

In this section we share some feedback from Raytheon as an employer of Graduate Apprentices

Can you provide some background to the company?

  • Raytheon UK employs 1,920 people.
  • 9 Sites across the UK including 2 in Scotland (Glenrothes and Livingston)
  • A prime contractor and major supplier to the U.K. Ministry of Defence and other Government departments
  • Provides solutions in areas including airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber, training solutions and space.

Why did the company decide to go down the Graduate Apprenticeship route?

The graduate apprenticeships are used by Raytheon UK to attract the best young talent, encourage existing employees to work on their career development. It allows the company to fill the talent pipeline with the skills we require whilst also working with the apprentices in real tasks and projects throughout their learning.

What are the key reasons why the Graduate Apprenticeship model suits your specific business/industry?

The option to bring through degree educated apprentices in courses with the skills and theory required for our roles.

The work while you learn option meaning that the apprentice contributes to the company, learns tasks and skills specific to the company whilst also receiving their education.

The funding provided by the Scottish Funding Council also allows the company to take advantage of the GLA programme more than we may be able to otherwise.

What appealed to you most about Heriot-Watt University as the GA provider?

It's a combination of:

  • The courses offered
  • The relationship and communication with employers
  • Location

In what way have the GAs made a contribution to the workplace / business?

Raytheon UK currently has 17 graduate level apprentices. Each of them are making valuable contributions to the company. They all have different roles, they have responsibility of certain pieces of kit, they are highly active in our STEM programme and are key to bringing fresh ideas and enthusiasm to our teams.

How do you feel about the apprentices' futures? 

They are all doing fantastic and have really bright futures ahead of them. Our 3rd years are already important team members in some of our key departments.

Based on your experience of the GA programme would you happily employ another Graduate Apprentice in the future?

Yes, this programme is proving to be highly sought after, which allows us to attract exciting new talent and encourages our existing employees to look at their career development in order to apply for this programme.

The apprentices that we have currently on the programme are doing very well and are already important members of their respective teams