Employer profile: Ford, one of the UK's biggest-selling car and commercial vehicle manufacturers
What's it like to work at a vehicle manufacturer?
Vehicle manufacturers design, produce, and sell the cars and other vehicles that we see on the road, but what is it like to work for them? In this guide, you’ll learn all about working for Ford, what apprenticeship opportunities are available, and how to apply.
Ford at a glance:
|Locations||UK Head Office and Research and Development Centre is in Essex, offices are also in London, and there are two manufacturing sites in Essex and Liverpool|
|Employees||8,000 across the UK|
|Sectors||Computers, Manufacturing, Product Design and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Maintenance|
|Great for||People who have an interest in the automotive industry.|
|Jobs you might not expect||We have IT Degree Apprenticeships available and some of our IT apprentices work within Ford Credit Bank.|
Donna Douglas, who is a HR Specialist, tells us what it’s really like to work for the company.
What does Ford do?
Ford is a vehicle manufacturer. This means that we research, develop, design and build vehicles, and then we market these to our prospective customers.
In addition to our commercial and passenger vehicles, we are currently developing hybrid and battery-electric technologies for our cars, as well as working on designing self-driving vehicles!
Where is Ford based?
We have two main locations: our UK Head Office and Research and Development Centre is in Dunton, Essex, and our other offices are in Stratford, London. We also have two manufacturing sites where we make vehicle components, namely, our engine plant in Dagenham, Essex, and our electric power plant in Halewood, Liverpool.
We have over 8,000 employees in the UK and we operate a hybrid working model. People in office-based roles generally work a hybrid pattern of one day in the office and four days at home. However, the location and hours that you work depend on your role.
Our offices are generally open-plan with collaboration spaces, meeting rooms, and other onsite facilities like gyms and prayer rooms.
What is Ford's work environment like?
We are process-oriented and results-driven as we have to make sure that our vehicles are made to the highest standards.
Our office environment is friendly with lots of opportunities to socialise both inside and outside work.
People in manufacturing roles work 7.5 hour days and these include working different shift patterns known as days, lates, or nights. Office-based roles tend to work from 8.00am to 5.00pm.
We work with people across lots of different teams so we use tools like WebEx Teams and Bluescape to make sure we can work collaboratively wherever we are.
How can someone join Ford at entry level?
Our Level 3 Advanced Engineering apprenticeship includes 12-18 months of off-the-job training at our Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) in Dagenham. You’ll then spend a further 2-3 years developing your engineering knowledge and skills to include basic principles of electronic circuits, wiring, machining, and fabricating sheet metal. This programme can lead to roles like Prototype Mechanic where you’ll test components and vehicles which are not yet ready for release to the public, or a Mechatronic Maintenance Technician where you’ll maintain our plant machinery and testing equipment. From this you’ll gain a level 2 Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering and a BTEC level 3 Extended Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering and you’ll earn approximately £14,274 per year which increases each year during your apprenticeship.
Our Level 6 Digital and Technology Solutions Apprenticeship takes 4 years to complete and leads to a BSc (Honours) in Digital and Technology Solutions. As part of your training, you’ll be testing and designing information systems, and doing coding work. This programme can lead to roles like Web Developer where you’ll design and update our web pages with the latest information, or as a Cyber Security Analyst where you’ll defend our IT infrastructure from malicious attacks. You'll earn approximately £24,533 per year which increases after each year of your apprenticeship.
We also offer a Level 6 Engineering Degree Apprenticeship — you can find more information on our Careers page.
What are the entry requirements for these roles?
For our Level 3 Advanced Engineering programme you’ll need at least 3 good GCSE grades (or equivalent) including English at grade C/4 or above, maths at grade B/5 or above, and physics or double science at Grade C/4 or above.
For our Level 6 Digital and Technology Solutions Apprenticeship you’ll need a minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grade B/5 or above including maths, English, and double science. You’ll also need three A levels (or equivalent) at grade BCC, and this must include at least one STEM-related subject.
What skills does Ford look for in applicants?
We look for a number of skills and qualities in all of our staff. These include people who:
- are caring and willing to put others first including their colleagues, peers, and customers
- do the right thing even when it can be uncomfortable to do so
- are curious and have a desire to learn new things
- are innovative and good at problem-solving
- are resilient and courageous
- are accountable
- look to help to improve whatever it is that they’re working on in order to help the wider team be successful
These skills and qualities are measured every time that we have an interaction with you — from our recruitment agency pre-screening exercises to our assessment centre activities which includes group exercises, role play activities, and interviews.
What is one top tip to help an entry level applicant succeed at getting into Ford?
Do your research: it’s such a simple thing to carry out but you would be amazed at the number of people who don’t do this. Try to get a good understanding of who we are as a company, what our apprenticeships are about, what our company values and purpose are, and what challenges we are facing in the current market. A good place to start your research would be looking at our US and UK websites, our news channels, and also doing wider web searches on the automotive industry.
What work experience or internship opportunities are there with Ford?
We offer two types of internships: our business placements and Vacation Trainee programmes. Our business placement is 12-months in length and our Vacation Trainee programme is 12-weeks in length. Both of these opportunities are open to people who are studying towards a relevant degree and they provide a great introduction to the company.
What opportunities are there for progression at Ford?
Many of our staff stay with us for a long time and the majority of our apprentices stay on and work for us full-time after finishing their training. If you want to progress, then there are opportunities to do so — we are firm believers in you driving your own development and we want to support you in reaching your potential!
Good stuff from elsewhere
Ford apprenticeship programmes
Find out more about Ford's apprenticeship opportunities
Ford graduate programmes
Find out more about Ford's graduate opportunities
Find out more about Ford as a company
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