What did you study at school?
I studied at Preston Secondary School in Yeovil, and did GCSEs in Triple Science, Maths, IGCSE Maths, English Literature & Language, Electronic Products, Product Design and History.
What apprenticeship are you completing?
Initially, I was doing the Technical Mechanical Apprenticeship (Level 4) after joining at 16, but subsequently transferred onto the Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6) in 2020, further developing my career. When this opportunity was presented to me, I believed it was the right decision as I had been enjoying the theoretical knowledge developed within Yeovil College, alongside the hands-on experience within the workplace. The opportunity to do a degree sponsored by the company has allowed more doors to open with sought-after qualifications, and avoiding student loans.
Why was an apprenticeship the right path for you?
The possibility to earn valuable experience was not only beneficial for my career, but also for me developing my own insights into my interests. It would enable me to understand what I enjoy and what career path to take, due to working through many different placements with the end goal to find a department I enjoy. Alongside this, going to college allows me to study additional elements which directly relate to the work I am doing, such as understanding the complexities of aircraft systems, which ensures I’ll learn and develop the key skills needed to do the job well. As well as work experience and qualifications which would put me ahead of the competition for my career, I start earning a real salary straight away which allows me to have more freedom within my social life.
Why did you join Leonardo?
Since many of my family members work at Leonardo, from a young age I’ve gained an insight into the company and its activities, intrigued by the aircraft which flew over my head as a child. Prior to joining, careers and STEM events allowed me to learn more regarding the company’s activities, using the latest technologies within aircraft to save lives, defend countries or transport VVIP nationally and around the globe. Leonardo stood out to me from the competition with its international footprint, along with its friendly working environment with many opportunities that was presented to me.
What is your current role at Leonardo?
I’m working on the Norway Programme Management. However the apprenticeship programme allows me to choose what placements I want to go to, previously working in design, planning, and supporting the build of the aircraft.
Tell us what you do in a typical day / week
My role as a project manager involved managing our relationship with the Royal Norwegian Air Force by implementing changes they requested. As our aircraft are unique and we personalise the aircraft to the customer requirements, following the Air Force testing the aircraft, they needed to make various changes before they could operate it in a search and rescue environment. All of these changes needed to be completed to a strict timescale, and to achieve this I have needed to work with the whole company. This involved interfacing with different departments including procurement, engineering, planning and customer support, being the link between all these different people and stakeholders so that the programme runs smoothly, and overseeing the design of the component, to the procurement, manufacture, trailing and test flying.
What do enjoy most about your job?
I came into Leonardo not being sure of what I want to do. However, after going through different placements, I have really enjoyed programmes and look forward to coming into work every day. This is because each day I’m presented with different challenges and problems which makes each day interesting. One day I might be interacting with the customer trailing a part on the aircraft, the next day I might be discussing the design and manufacture of a component. This variety tests different skills, whether communication or working at my desk and using the latest computer software to visualise products. This provides me the opportunity to see the company as a whole, and interacting with different people to work towards a common goal, delivering the most advanced aircraft to the customer.
What have been your biggest achievements at Leonardo so far?
Luckily, I have been given a large amount of responsibility within each placement, with everyone supporting me, which has allowed me to contribute significantly. For example, within tooling design, I supported the design of the storage trolleys which have been manufactured and are used all around the site. Within planning, I supported the technical specification for the latest Poland aircraft, and within programme management I have really enjoyed managing the latest customer changes, which has enabled me to travel with the company to interact with the customer in-country. This has provided me with a real insight into the challenges they have and how our aircraft is used within a real world scenario.
Meanwhile, at college, thanks to the support of the lecturers, I have been able to achieve high grades, enabling me to progress onto the degree scheme.
What related activities are you involved with outside your specific job role?
I have been fortunate to play an active role in our apprentice association based in Yeovil, helping raise over £37,000 for local charities. I’ve also been involved with many early careers events, promoting STEM and the benefits of doing an apprenticeship. This exposure has allowed me to also meet local MPs and Defence Ministers, supporting visits and sharing my own insights, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
What are your career aspirations?
Once I complete my degree apprenticeship, I would like to focus on project and programme management, ultimately becoming a programme manager. However, with many more years and placements to go, I might find something I enjoy more in the future.
Why should someone consider an apprenticeship at Leonardo?
There are so many different opportunities within the business working with interesting functions around the business that you wouldn’t see anywhere else including: transmissions – seeing the intricate machining; composites – handling the materials of the future; business – understanding the fundamentals of the company; engineering – designing the aircraft of the future; customer support – understanding the customers’ requirements; shop support – assisting the aircraft fitters on the line with issues they face.
All these placements and departments are really supportive and allow you to do what interests you, while giving you real responsibilities which have an impact on the aircraft produced.
This is alongside the additional opportunities the come to travel abroad, as I’ve done to Norway and Italy, understanding the needs of the customer and the facilities that we have around the world. The social aspect of the apprentice association, the friendly work environment, and the interesting and applicable subjects taught at Yeovil College have made me really enjoy my apprenticeship. It’s a place that would interest anyone!
What are you doing after your apprenticeship finishes?
I should be completing my apprenticeship in 2024, following which I hope to secure a job with Leonardo, as well as progressing further and completing a master’s degree in programme management as I had discovered I really enjoyed that placement. However, with the various opportunities and support Leonardo provides, my career path could change.