A young blonde woman smiling at the camera against wallpaper depicting a speeding sports car.
Louise McKeown, a graduate at Jaguar Land Rover. Image: JLR

How this graduate gained skills and developed the confidence to use them

27 Aug 2018

Everyone expects to gain skills when they do a graduate programme, but it takes a special kind of environment to also foster the confidence to employ these skills in a professional setting.

One of the massive benefits of doing a graduate programme post-college is that it nails down the skills you learned during your studies.

In the classroom, things tend to stay in the realm of the theoretical; the real-world applications can seem far off. This is why exposure to workplace settings is so valuable.

Yet what use are skills if you don’t feel confident enough to utilise them? Luckily for Louise McKeown, she was able to develop both her skillset and confidence while working with Jaguar Land Rover as a graduate.

We caught up with McKeown to learn about what her typical day looks like and what attracted her to the automobile company in the first place.

What did you study in college?

Software development.

With this programme, are you now working in your desired industry?

Yes, I am working as a software developer on the cybersecurity team in Jaguar Land Rover.

What drew you to Jaguar Land Rover when you were seeking work as a graduate?

What mainly drew me to Jaguar Land Rover were the prospects and opportunities that would be open to me. I had heard about the work they were doing and it seemed exciting and interesting and something I wanted to be part of.

What expectations did you have before you began the programme?

I expected that I would gain good experience and skills through the programme, which would enable me to become more confident and be capable of contributing to my team.

What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?

Initially, I spent the first few weeks reading documentation and setting up any software and tools I would need. I was also brought up to speed on the projects that were been carried out by my team and that I would soon be working on.

I then began with small tasks that helped me get used to the environment I would be working with.

Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?

As you gain experience and become more confident in your role, the work does change. You are given more difficult tasks and more responsibility to work on your own initiative.

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

A typical day begins with checking emails, followed by our daily stand-up meeting where we discuss the tasks that have been completed the previous day and what we will be working on for the day.

The rest of the day is spent working at my desk developing and testing any code that I have written, and carrying out any other tasks assigned to me. I also attend any meetings I may have.

How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees’?

As expected, more experienced employees have a greater level of responsibility and workload than graduates. They are also tasked with answering questions graduates may have and providing guidance and training.

Do you feel more prepared for working life after completing this programme?

Yes, I am more confident in my skills and feel I have gained the relevant knowledge I need to continue to learn and progress and grow my career.

Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at Jaguar Land Rover?

There are many opportunities available for graduates at Jaguar Land Rover. There is a variety of different teams and roles available to suit a variety of skills.

The work is interesting and changes from day to day. As the company is growing, there are also many experienced developers that you can learn and gain knowledge from.

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