What did you study at school?
I studied at The FitzWimarc School in Rayleigh, completing GCSEs in Triple Science, Maths, English Literature & Language, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Engineering.
What apprenticeship are you completing?
I am currently completing the Level 3 Engineering Technical Support apprenticeship.
Why was an apprenticeship the right path for you?
During secondary school, I struggled with the pressure and stress of exams. Although my grades were much higher than predicted, I had extremely bad anxiety the whole time. In the more practical subjects, like GCSE engineering, I would go into the lessons excited to learn, constantly wanting to push myself, feeling no pressure or stress, since I was doing something I loved. An apprenticeship meant I could continue doing something I love, whilst getting hands-on experience and gaining the associated qualifications. It also provides me with an insight into the engineering industry. This has allowed me to build my confidence and work on my soft skills, which will support me through my whole career.
Tell us what you do in a typical week
As an apprentice, I move round the different departments on the Basildon site every three months. This gives me an appreciation for what goes on within a project, seeing how the different departments collaborate and make a project run smoothly. It also provides an insight into the different options I have for a final placement. With the placement rotation, my weeks are different when it comes to completing tasks. For example, I’m currently working in Component Engineering, using SAP, checking new components and ensuring they are correctly input to the system. I also have college assignments and NVQ units that need to be completed, so I always put aside time throughout the week to get those done.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
There are many parts of my job that I enjoy, but if I had to pick one, it would be how different every day is. This means I’m constantly working on new skills and developing my knowledge and learning. For example, documentation may need updating, which means I have to research the specific topic and then communicate with different members of that team to get it approved.
What have been your biggest achievements at Leonardo so far?
Planning and running a new programme for the Basildon 1st Year apprentices to do on site during the college holidays. Normally, when an apprentice is back on site during holiday time, they continue their college work or complete some small activities. However, I wanted to create a pack that provided further insights into working life at Leonardo. This activity allowed me to voice my opinion, get feedback on my idea and get approval to proceed. As project manager, I developed the new course and aligned them to Leonardo’s core business activities. This project also allowed me to learn new skills that were separate from my everyday placement work.
What related activities are you involved with outside your specific job role?
All the apprentices are all heavily involved with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) initiatives. Over the last two years, I have attended several STEM events, including college careers fairs and talks in schools, which showcase the options for them when they leave school. I’m also involved in running the Rampaging Chariots competition we run at Basildon (and the other sites).
What are your career aspirations?
I’m halfway through my apprenticeship, and I will be focusing on completing my HNC to a D*D* standard whilst completing my final placement. I would then like to complete a degree in either quality assurance or electronics. By doing so, I can become a chartered engineer more quickly, which is my end goal. I also want greater involvement in STEM activities in and outside work. Because I am just at the start of my career, I think students can relate to me more, and equally, I have a good understanding of what they are going through. In the future, I would like to be head of a department, so I can bring new people into the company and provide them with the education and support that I received when I started.
Why should someone consider an apprenticeship at Leonardo?
The first reason is how many different opportunities to learn there are. You will complete lots of different courses just being on the apprenticeship scheme, on top of which there are many opportunities to complete new courses on the PVS or Coursera platform. On any course, many colleagues are willing to help throughout the process, so you are never alone. The second reason is the amount of experience you can gain in a number of different areas. When joining Leonardo, you do not need to have a set plan for where you will end up. By moving around the different placements, you get to learn what you like and what you do not like, enabling you to make an informed decision about your final placement. Finally, as a female in engineering, Leonardo is amazing when it comes to being inclusive for everyone. The company has a big push on getting women into engineering, promoting events like Women in Engineering Day, and always being there to help if you were to have any issues.
What are you doing after your apprenticeship finishes?
Once I have completed my apprenticeship, in August 2022, I hope to obtain a full-time position in my chosen department. I then hope to go on to complete a degree in this area to help strengthen my knowledge and reach my goal of becoming a Chartered Engineer.