Leonardo apprentices brief MPs at Houses of Parliament for first time since start of pandemic
For the first time since the pandemic emerged, Leonardo apprentices from the aerospace engineering company’s sites across the UK recently had the chance to brief MPs face-to-face at the Houses of Parliament to share their experiences of their apprenticeships.
Amongst the group of Leonardo apprentices representing the company was Design Engineering Graduate Apprentice Natalie Simpson, 20. Before starting her apprenticeship, Natalie studied at Bo’ness Academy before joining the scheme. She is now gaining on the job training while studying a degree in Design Engineering: Design & Manufacture at the University of Strathclyde in her current apprenticeship at Leonardo.
After a tour of some of its most iconic chambers, including Westminster Hall, rebuilt after the Blitz by the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the apprentices met MPs at a special reception hosted by trade organisation ADS (Aerospace, Defence Security & Space). Attendees also included over 100 Apprentices from across industry. There they didn’t just have the chance to speak to their local MP, but MPs from across the UK including Jack Lopresti, MP for Filton & Bradley Stoke, Mark Fletcher, MP for Bolsover, Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow North West, Dave Doogan MP for Angus also in Scotland.
Natalie said: “Meeting MPs and apprentices from across the UK face to face was a fantastic opportunity, as I joined Leonardo during Covid. I was speaking to Carol Monaghan and I told her about the benefits of a degree apprenticeship. You are paid well while you study so you don’t have to worry about university fees and once you’ve completed your apprenticeship you go straight into a permanent role. I am quite a visual learner, so I need that hands on experience to really absorb information and I explained that it was great products like radars go through the full product lifecycle from start to finish. Right now my role involves giving a final quality check before radars are sent out, so I enjoy that responsibility and the direct contact with the technology.”
According to the latest figures released by the UK Government covering the 2021/22 academic year, apprenticeship starts were up by 26.0% to 204,000 compared to 161,900 reported for the same period in the previous year.
Deborah Soley, Head of Apprenticeships UK who accompanied the apprentices on their trip to the Houses of Parliament said: “We have seen our apprentices really grab the opportunities we have offered them, whether through on the job training or representing our company at external events such as this visit. Despite the pandemic they continue to thrive as a population at our company and we can chart career paths to the most senior levels of our organisation from early starts within our apprenticeship programme.”