Paul Davidson

16 April 2019
Graduate Design Apprentice

Meet Paul who joined Leonardo as a Modern Apprentice originally, but subsequently switched to the company's Graduate Apprentice programme in order to pursue his plans of also gaining a degree. 

What did you study at school?

I completed high school in 2016, attending West Calder High School (Livingston, West Lothian). I left school with 6 Highers (Maths, Physics, Biology, Product Design and manufacture, Physical Education and History), 10 National 5’s and Advanced Higher Maths.

Why was a graduate apprenticeship the right path for you?

Prior to the graduate apprenticeship, I was originally studying towards my HND at college and an SVQ level 3 as a modern apprentice with Leonardo. However, once I’d seen the vacancy for the graduate apprenticeship on the company website, it was a no-brainer to switch apprenticeship schemes. I had always envisioned attending university after my modern apprenticeship (and even when I was in high school!), and with the graduate apprenticeship, I could get an engineering degree.

Put simply, the graduate apprenticeship offered the opportunity for hands-on learning in a world-leading engineering company whilst studying for a degree and earning a competitive salary. The knowledge I would gain from university and rotational placements (within the work) would stand me in good stead to be eligible for incorporated engineer status after the graduate apprenticeship and to fast track my professional development. I had no doubts that the graduate apprenticeship was the right path for me.

I’m studying Engineering: Design & Manufacture at the University of Strathclyde.

Tell us what you do in a typical day/week

The best aspect about the apprenticeships Leonardo offer is that each day is different, each posing their own set of challenges. Each day I’m working with experienced engineers and managers on real life products. Therefore, I have a lot of responsibility on a day-to-day basis, as I attend engineering meetings and work within Integrated Project Teams. The products we manufacture are very complex; therefore I spend much of my time learning about new and existing products.

I’ve had a large involvement in the STEM outreach side of the apprenticeship, helping run the work experience programme in our Edinburgh site, as well as representing the company at various high profile events such as RAF100 at the Glasgow Science Centre and Rampaging Chariots.

What have been your best moments / biggest achievements so far?

A few of my best moments so far have been representing the company at the 2018 Braemar Gathering in the RAF hospitality tent, raising £2.5k for the Armed Forces Para Snowsports Team (AFPST) and finishing joint runner-up in Apprentice of the Year in my first year. I also played a role in the delivery of the 3000th Laser to Lockheed Martin during my rotational placement in the Electronics ME department and successfully repaired and retro-fitted an old climatic chamber which is now being used in production.

What are your career aspirations?

My future ambitions are to get the best possible mark in my degree and join a department I enjoy working in, where I can develop my skills and progress my career. I also wish to continue to develop myself into an all-around engineer, gaining new knowledge in both new and existing technology at the Leonardo facilities in Edinburgh.

Why should someone consider an apprenticeship at Leonardo?

Everyone at my school was pushing me towards studying at university, but going against the norm has changed my life for the better. Since joining the apprenticeship, I can honestly say I have no regrets. Leonardo is a world-leading company, with a diverse range of enthusiastic, friendly and intelligent people working across the entire business. The company has pushed me to be the best I can be, and with the correct determination and enthusiasm, anyone can succeed in their chosen field as an apprentice.