Abigail Sampson

21 January 2017
Technical Apprentice

Meet Abigail Sampson. Read about her experiences as a Technical Apprentice at Leonardo, based in Basildon, since joining in 2015.

When did you join Leonardo?

I joined Leonardo in September 2015, straight after completing my GCSEs.

What are your main tasks as a Technical Apprentice?

As a technical apprentice, I complete different placements within the business. This includes placements in the manufacturing, design, software, hardware and industrial engineering departments. They last around three months each and they allow me to experience a variety of business areas with a broad range of tasks. In one placement I could be physically building a piece of equipment, whereas in another I might be creating software or 3D product designs.

Tell us about your typical day

On a typical day, I will work with a supervisor to find out the tasks I will be completing. Once given a task, I’ll continue to work on it independently until it is completed, or I need advice. There is always someone available to help, even if my supervisor is not available. A placement is normally focused on a specific project which the company is working on, so I build my knowledge of the workings of the business day by day.

After completing placements in multiple business areas, including software, mechanical and hardware engineering, I have chosen to complete my final placement with the intention of transitioning into a full-time role in systems engineering. This has involved working on a number of different tasks ranging from generating system configuration files to liaising with customers on overseas trial activities.

What related activities are you involved with outside your specific job role?

I often support various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers events with Leonardo at local schools and colleges, such as ProCAT College. We attend these on day release and the day normally involves manning a company exhibit where we will discuss options with students looking at engineering careers. Additionally, we visit school events where I'll talk to smaller groups of students and parents. This has enabled me to learn more about the company, meet lots of new people from within and outside the company, and advise others, based on my personal experiences. The apprentices also run a robot competition called ‘Rampaging Chariots’ for schools and local Air Cadet squadrons to compete in, in Basildon and other sites. As an Air Cadet myself, I've seen a lot of military equipment on various camps and visits. Now being on the production side of things, it's been great to see both the creation and use of some of our products.

What do you enjoy about working at Leonardo?

I love the variety of tasks which I undertake as an apprentice at Leonardo. It has helped me develop different kinds of skills, and experience things I may never have done otherwise. The projects and equipment are fascinating to work with and learn about, and everyone I have worked with has been extremely friendly and approachable. I feel very appreciated as an apprentice and there is always support available when needed.

Why should someone consider doing an apprenticeship at Leonardo?

An apprenticeship at Leonardo is a great opportunity to get straight into industry and learn invaluable skills. Placements allow apprentices to learn about the different areas of the business, their function and key people within them and to develop a career plan based on the experience gathered. Alongside this, involvement in STEM and charity activities provides an opportunity to develop soft skills and collaborate with fellow apprentices in a more relaxed atmosphere. I really enjoy being an apprentice at Leonardo and have developed a wide range of skills alongside formal qualifications.