Despite the pandemic, Leonardo has remained buoyant and has not furloughed any employees, with most working from home.
This arrangement has made it easier to retain the 2m social distancing for key workers who have kept production work flowing on their sites.
Amongst them is Graduate Firmware Engineer Helena Kelland (pictured below), who is currently in the second year of Leonardo’s graduate programme at their Luton site based at Capability Green.
When Helena didn’t get the grades she expected for her A Levels, she realised how much she wanted to study engineering and resolved to get her degree through a foundation engineering course split between Oaklands College and the University of Herfordshire.
After successfully completing her foundation year, Helena was accepted full-time on to an Electrical and Electronic Engineering Degree at the university. That’s where she met one of Leonardo’s Technical Apprentices, who was studying a degree part-time while working at the company, and his recommendation of applying for the Company’s summer placement programme changed the path of her career.
Helena said: “I thought that if he is getting paid to work and study a degree at the same time then they must be a good company, so I applied and luckily I got the summer placement and that’s how I got to know Leonardo. During my final year at university they gave me a call and asked if I would like to come back to work full-time on their graduate scheme and I was delighted. I already knew the company and some of the people who worked there and for the remainder of my degree it gave me peace of mind to know I didn’t have to worry about finding a job at the end of my degree.”
She thinks the graduate programme has given her a good foundation for the start of her engineering career and the reason Leonardo might be becoming an increasingly popular destination for graduates is the breadth of learning opportunities available on the graduate programme.
Reflecting on the reasons behind the 100 per cent hike in apprenticeship programme applications, Deborah Soley, Head of Apprentice Management UK believes that the reputation of the programme is spreading and that young people value the feedback from their friends who are already on the programme.
She said: “There is no greater commendation for our apprenticeship programme than the real experiences of our apprentices themselves and like Helena said, feedback from friends is a trusted route through which people make important career decisions. Our apprentices are being given the opportunity to shape the business and make a real contribution. That has especially been the case during the current pandemic, where they have shown incredible resilience and commitment to supporting our customers, even as the business quickly and dramatically changed day-to-day working practices in response to the virus.”
Helena believes young people might have more career paths available to them than they may have first realised and thinks they shouldn’t worry if things don’t go to plan academically. She said: “Take it in your stride and keep going, it might take a bit longer but you’ll do it.”
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