When did you join Leonardo?
I joined Leonardo in 2009 as a Business Apprentice at the helicopters site in Yeovil. This was following completion of my GCSEs which included the mandatory subjects, along with Business, Media, Child Care and DT Textiles.
Why was an apprenticeship the right path for your career development?
I’ve always been very career-driven and had a part-time job during my final two years at school. My favourite subject at GCSE was Business, and I planned to follow my interest in this after my exams. An apprenticeship seemed like a natural fit for me, given my familiarity with working life and eagerness to earn and learn!
Why did you join Leonardo?
Leonardo is one of the largest and most reputable employers in the local area and ran a very successful apprenticeship programme on which everybody wanted a place. At the time of me joining Leonardo, I had lots of family and friends already working on site, including my Dad who was the one that encouraged me to apply for the Business Apprenticeship programme. I didn’t take much convincing!
What did your apprenticeship involve?
I started working on the Yeovil site following my GCSE results and joined a team of five first year business apprentices. We carried out series of 3-6 month placements across a variety of departments to gain exposure to the different areas of business at Leonardo. My placements included Training Academy, HR, the Merlin Life Sustainment Programme (MLSP), Procurement and Site Facilities. During this time, I completed an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration, with the company providing an assessor and mentor to guide me through the qualification. I also completed a BTEC in Business Studies, with a tutor from Yeovil College coming on site one day a week to lecture and assist with assignments.
What did you enjoy most about the apprenticeship?
It was really interesting to see how a large company such as Leonardo operates, with so many different business areas working both individually and collectively to achieve results for the company. I hadn’t appreciated just how complex the infrastructure of a company could be. Each department ranges in size and capability, but they are all absolutely integral to the success of Leonardo. I felt I was in a very fortunate position to be able to gain work experience in some of those different areas and to be able to build a clearer understanding of ‘business’ in my head. Not everybody gets that opportunity.
What I enjoyed most about study days was temporarily feeling like I was back in a learning environment, along with the other first year apprentices. We enjoyed studying together and being able to connect as a group on a weekly basis.
What is your current role at Leonardo?
I’m now the UK Communications Manager for UK Corporate, based in London.
Tell us what you do in a typical day / week
No two days are ever the same in Communications. The department as a whole deals with press and media engagement, digital and social media, multimedia, brand promotion, internal communications, events and exhibitions. My role umbrellas all of these areas. I project or campaign manage a variety of communications activities. The projects vary from specific business area or product promotion, to coordinating Leonardo’s presence at STEM events and supporting the large trade exhibitions, to facilitating journalist visits to our UK sites.
What do enjoy most about your job?
I love being actively engaged with different areas of the business. I learn something new every day and it never fails to amaze me how broad our capabilities are as a company. I work in a very creative department with like-minded people who all bounce ideas off one another.
One huge perk of my job is the travel – whether that be to a different site or to an event/exhibition. The hours can be long, but it’s so much fun and very rewarding.
What have been your biggest achievements at Leonardo so far?
I’m really proud of how far I have come over the past ten years, which is totally down to grasping every opportunity with both hands!
During my time on site in Yeovil, I joined a team who organised Business Lunchtime Seminars for colleagues, and in doing so networked and managed to secure a secondment to the corporate office in 2016. This paved the way to where I am now.
Leonardo has continued to support my development by sponsoring my further education – a degree in Business Management and Marketing – which is incredibly challenging to complete whilst carrying out a demanding full-time role.
Over the past few years, I have successfully managed the coordination and delivery of several high profile events. The one I have the most fun with is the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT). I’ve worked on our RIAT presence over the past five years, taking responsibility for our involvement in the STEM TechnoZone. I love working with our STEM Ambassadors from across the UK to make this a big success each year!
What related activities are you involved with outside your specific job role?
At the moment I am very much focussed on completing the final assessment of my degree. Studying part-time has been a real test of self-motivation and endurance, but I feel very lucky to have a network of supportive colleagues around me. I can’t wait to hit that final ‘submit’ button…it’s going to feel amazing!
What are your career aspirations?
Good question! Recently I feel I have found my feet in the company, and I hope others see that too. I want to keep on growing, both personally and professionally, by continuing to learn about different areas of the business, as well as learn from my colleagues in Communications who are incredibly skilled and talented in their own areas. I hope eventually to have a deeper level of involvement and accountability at high profile corporate events, and who knows…maybe a bit more international travel.
Why should someone consider an Apprenticeship at Leonardo?
Leonardo is a fantastic company to work for. Over the years they have encouraged my development and invested in my future. If you are someone who is very career-driven, then earning and learning is a route you should definitely consider after school. Joining the company on an apprenticeship scheme at the same time as others was great fun – I made friends, we went to festivals, we organised fundraisers, we celebrated our successes at the annual awards dinner and we helped each other with our studies. It’s a lovely community to be a part of. An apprenticeship was the perfect platform for me to launch my career from. I have no regrets!
What piece of advice would you offer an Apprentice today?
Don’t be scared to enter the world of full-time employment, it isn’t scary! You soon become accustomed to this change in your life, and there will be so many people around to support you. Never be afraid to ask questions, or discuss your aspirations – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Take the time to learn all about what Leonardo does as a company. It’s easy to focus on what site or division you work for, but you will be amazed at how broad and interesting the wider Leonardo is.
Finally, get involved in the amazing STEM work our apprentices and graduates do. It’s a chance for you to meet other trainees, network with senior managers, engage with the public, meet VIPs and attend air shows!