A-Z Of Employers: Rolls-Royce

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The Independent Online

What does it do?

Well, what it doesn't do any more is make cars. The German car company BMW bought Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd a few years back, leaving the parent firm, Rolls-Royce plc, to concentrate on the less glamorous but commercially more significant, business of making engines for ships, submarines and planes, and turbines for power stations on land. Customers include 600 airlines, 160 armed forces and more than 2,000 marine firms, among them 70 navies. It all began in 1904 in Manchester when Charles Rolls, a car seller, and Henry Royce, who'd just started manufacturing them, got together to form what would become one of the top-drawer brand names on four wheels. In the decades that followed, aero and marine engines acquired similarly impressive reputations. Today, the company has 54,000 gas turbines (engines) in service.

Vital statistics:

Annual sales total £6.6bn, generated by a workforce of 36,200, employed in 50 countries; the majority in the UK, US, Canada and Germany.

The office:

The UK headquarters are in London, but there are a number of major manufacture and service centres spread around the UK, notably in Derby, Glasgow and Bristol.

Is this you?

Most of the 150 to 200 graduates taken on every year are engineers, who must have an MEng but a substantial chunk are also destined for generic business areas. Recruits either enter a leadership development (management) stream or one labelled professional excellence. A 2.1 is a must.

The recruitment process:

Online applications at www.rolls-royce.com/university are sifted directly for assessment centre candidates, who undergo an interview, verbal and numerical reasoning tests, a presentation, a personality questionnaire and, in some cases, a group exercise or written case study. Training lasts around 18 months. Leadership recruits do three six-month secondments, each in a different location and business sector, one of which is abroad. Those on the Professional Excellence programmes are more likely to be based in a main UK location, with one three-month secondment at another site.

Top dollar?

Graduates starting this September begin on £23-25,000, with a £2,000 joining bonus and five weeks' holiday, plus bank holidays.

Beam me up Scotty?

The vast majority of graduates walk into permanent positions at the end of training. Profiles on the careers section of the website expand on career paths of recent recruits.

Who's the boss?

Psychology graduate Sir John Rose has been chief executive since 1996, and had a career in banking before joining Rolls-Royce in 1984.

Little known fact:

Charles Rolls was Britain's first aerospace casualty, dying in an air crash in Bournemouth in 1910, barely four years after the company was born.

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