Sam Blinkhorne

13 August 2019
Software Technician

Meet Sam, who excelled in this four years on Leonardo's apprenticeship scheme having joined the company in order to continue developing his skills, while having experience in the work place and beginning to earn a living.

When did you join Leonardo?

I joined Leonardo as an apprentice in September 2015 because I was interested in the work they do here. In my 6th form years, I did the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) with Leonardo, which inspired me and gave me that spark to go into both engineering and into the company.

Why was an apprenticeship the right path for you?

An apprenticeship was right for me as after 6th form I decided I wanted to start earning my way in the world while still being able to learn, something that isn’t easy to do in university. So an apprenticeship was the best way for me to continue to grow my skills, while having experience in the work place and beginning to make my own money and life.

Tell us about a typical day

My days can vary a lot as a software engineer; I don’t just sit at a PC typing all day. I’m responsible for creating new pieces of software or developing and upgrading older pieces for new customers. But I’m also responsible for the testing of software and problem-solving any issues encountered. I’m also involved in design meetings and team discussions about how we plan to go ahead on new projects and helping organise workload. The projects I work on can also vary greatly too – from radio systems to android applications.

What do enjoy most about your job?

What I enjoy most about my job is the variety of work that I get involved in around the workplace; it always makes it interesting and allows me to always keep developing my skills in new areas. I also enjoy my working environment, all the team working as one to achieve a common goal.

What have been your best moment / biggest achievements at Leonardo so far?

My biggest achievements have been winning two internal Apprentice of the Year awards and being an East of England finalist as part of the 2019 National Apprenticeships Awards’ UK Apprentice of the year. I feel this is a huge achievement as it shows that the work I’ve been doing really stands out to people and is seen as a huge benefit. Another big moment for me was being the organiser of Rampaging Chariots at the Basildon site 2018. This was a really good feeling to be trusted with being in charge of an event this big and being trusted to do a good job of it, even winning an award for the work I did for the event.

What are your career aspirations?

I have big career aspirations and a real drive to keep pushing myself to the next level. I have a plan to go as high up as I can push myself in the business. I want to make it all the way to Head of Software Engineering, as I really want to make a difference in the company. I have a Personal Development Plan laid out on how I plan to achieve all my goals and all the development I need to reach them.

Why should someone consider an apprenticeship at Leonardo?

I would suggest that if you have an interest in any form of engineering – whether it’s mechanical, systems, software or electronic – then a Leonardo apprenticeship would be a good one to do. It opens you up to a wide variety of engineering through the apprenticeship, with placements in all the main areas of engineering that give you a real feel of the different types and allows you to really develop an understanding of what type of engineering best suits you. This then influences your final year when you can specialise in one of the topics. The apprenticeship scheme offers a lot of support with development and really allows you to strive and take up a lot of responsibilities early on if you believe you are capable.