Until 2015, Sophie was serving in the police, but while she found it a good experience, it wasn’t where her passion lay. She’d always had an interest in cars and engineering: the Apprenticeship programme has given her the training and support to work in a field she thought was beyond her reach.
She started out building Rolls-Royce’s iconic 6.75-litre V12 engines – a daunting and highly responsible first job, and quite a change from working on the 1.8 in her MX-5. Although Sophie’s Apprenticeship is specifically within Assembly, it includes placements throughout the company, so she gets an idea of how the wider business operates. That’s included joining a team-building event in North Devon and visiting the BMW plant at Swindon: she also has a trip booked to meet colleagues in Munich.
Though still in her first year, Sophie has already set her sights on a career with Rolls-Royce after she completes the programme: her ideal job would be an Operations Manager within Assembly.
Tobie’s Engineering Apprenticeship has taken him from working in a newsagent’s to a crucial role in the world’s pre-eminent super-luxury automotive brand. As a Parts Quality Technician, he’s been involved in the pre-series production and development, and subsequent launch, of both Wraith and Dawn.
Like many Apprentices, Tobie was inspired to apply by a friend who was already on the programme. Friendship has been a key part of Tobie overcoming his biggest challenge, which was to develop his professional communication skills. He’s achieved it by being ‘buddied up’ with various colleagues to see how they handle and respond to different situations.
Such is Tobie’s new-found confidence, he’s now looking to progress to a Quality Technician role, then continue with his studies with a view to becoming a Quality Engineer.
Woodwork was the part of her GCSE in Resistant Materials that Aisling most enjoyed. After leaving school, she visited Chichester College to find out about its Furniture Making & Design course. While she was there, she asked about apprenticeships, heard about Rolls-Royce, and immediately decided to apply.
Ironically, working at the world’s leading luxury car company, Aisling doesn’t drive yet. Her boss encouraged her join the company’s lift-sharing scheme, making life easier both for her and her dad. Initially, she also struggled with the early mornings, so Rolls‑Royce staggered her start times to help her get acclimatised.
From the outset, she’s been fascinated to observe how simple materials are turned into beautiful, intricate parts that fit so precisely and elegantly into the handcrafted cars. She’s already decided that she wants to stay at Rolls-Royce once her Apprenticeship finishes – and work her way up as high as she can go!
APPRENTICES WHO HAVE SUCCESFULLY GRADUATED
Aged 17, Sam was working in food retailing, but knew he could do more with his life. He joined Rolls-Royce soon after his 18th birthday as a Production Associate in the Woodshop, and immediately discovered his true passion. A year later, he joined the 2011 Apprenticeship scheme, and soon found himself wanting to learn skills and work on projects beyond what was expected of him as an Apprentice.
Such a positive attitude was bound to get him noticed. When the company launched its international touring exhibition, Inside Rolls-Royce, Sam was one of the craftspeople chosen to take part. The experience took him to London, Berlin, Dubai, Shanghai and Los Angeles, meeting visitors and customers and talking about his work. He was also selected to introduce David Cameron when the Prime Minister visited the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood in 2015 – and all while he was still an Apprentice.
On completing his training in 2015, Sam became a Process Supporter, managing a production team in the Woodshop.
Alice had spoken to small groups before, but she’d never addressed a roomful of 900 people – among them the Prime Minister. While introducing David Cameron to the entire Rolls-Royce team was a real challenge, Alice describes it as ‘the icing on the cake’ in her Apprenticeship to date.
Before joining Rolls-Royce, Alice was studying furniture-making and soft furnishings at Chichester College. There, she met a number of Rolls-Royce Apprentices, who spend a day a week at college as part of their training. Hearing about the great opportunities they had been given, she couldn’t resist applying for a place herself. She’s now working in the Leathershop, creating the sumptuous interiors that are among the most distinctive and defining elements of Rolls-Royce motor cars.
The PM’s visit isn’t the only occasion on which Alice has been chosen to represent the company. She’s also travelled to California and Dubai, talking to customers about the Leathershop at prestigious motor shows and social events.
By his own admission, James has always been ‘a huge petrol-head’. So for him, it was logical step to go from working in a small joinery shop making bespoke wooden pieces to joining Rolls-Royce as an Apprentice, and enter an industry he was truly passionate about.
Nine years on, he’s been lucky enough to hold various roles within the company. Currently working as an Accessory and Retrofit Specialist in the Aftersales department, he’s keen to continue gaining knowledge in different areas of the business, and would love to manage a team within the next five years.
Inspired by his own experiences, James has become a true champion of the Apprenticeships programme. During a promotional event at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, he had the pleasure of meeting a distinguished Rolls-Royce customer, Lord Sugar. His biggest challenge came when he gave a presentation at a recognition event attended by all the BMW Group apprentices in the UK; through the encouragement and support of colleagues, he’s now a confident public speaker.