Congratulations to our Apprentice of the Year Winners

06 December 2023

Leonardo has announced the winners of its annual Apprentice of the Year awards for its UK Electronics and Cyber & Security businesses.

Each year, Leonardo recognises trainees across its UK business who have shown outstanding progress through their placements and academic studies. The calibre of entries for this year’s nominees was extremely high, making the judges’ decisions very difficult.

The 2023 winners consistently demonstrated a positive approach to their learning and employment, and reflected Leonardo's values and appropriate behaviours throughout their work. This year’s awardees come from across the company’s UK sites:

1st Year winner

  • Peter Metcalfe (Software Engineering Degree Apprentice) – Luton

2nd Year Winner

  • Darla Pearce (Electronics Engineering Degree Apprentice) – Luton

3rd Year Winner

  • Natalie Simpson (Design Engineering Graduate Apprentice) – Edinburgh

4th Year Winners

  • Ethan Rae (Design Engineering Graduate Apprentice) – Edinburgh

  • Abby Verney (Manufacturing Technical Apprentice) – Basildon

  • Jasmine Nicholson (Business Apprentice) – Luton

Overall Apprentice of the Year 2023

  • Natalie Simpson – Edinburgh

Acknowledging this year’s winners, Senior Early Careers Business Partner, Mark Sheerin, said: "Every year we celebrate the fantastic achievements within our apprenticeship community. For our most recent awards, the standard of the finalists was once again exceptionally high. The judging panel chose Natalie as the overall winner, in recognition of her academic and work-based achievements.”

Reflecting on being named this year’s Overall Apprentice of the Year, as well as the 3rd Year Winner, Natalie Simpson thanked those who had helped her along the way. She said: “It is an honour to be recognised for all my hard work and achievements over the past year of my apprenticeship. I would like to thank everyone that I have worked with throughout my apprentice journey so far, as I have learnt so much from all the engineering disciplines. I have utilised these skills when progressing into my final placement within research and development. I look forward to completing the final year of my apprenticeship and I am excited to see what else the future holds.”

“I am loving my time at Leonardo!” said Peter Metcalfe, winner of the 1st Year Apprentice Award. “Since joining earlier this year, I aimed to get involved with as much as possible, including various events, trips and competitions. Although this entailed a great deal of extra work, commitment, and time, it has been incredibly rewarding, and it is fantastic to be recognised for my efforts with this award. I am very grateful to my managers allowing me the time to work on these extracurricular activities, as well as all the like-minded apprentices I have had the chance to collaborate with so far.

"Leonardo is such an exciting place to work, and I am looking forward to the next three years of my apprenticeship.”

Winner of the Leonardo 2nd Year Apprentice Award, Darla Pearce, explains why she choose an apprenticeship to get the career she wanted: “I saw it as the ideal route into becoming an engineer. I feel that the practical experience not only benefits me and helps my way of learning, but also makes me be the best I can be in my dream job as an electronics engineer. Thank you to my friends and colleagues for all the support over the past year. I hope to continue expanding my skillset and knowledge throughout the rest of my apprenticeship and hope that my positive impact continues throughout my career.”

The winners of the 4th Year Apprentice Awards cover the engineering, manufacturing and business apprenticeships available at Leonardo.

Design engineer, Ethan Rae, was keen to point out how the variety of the placements has helped him with his career development: “The Leonardo apprenticeship has been the perfect start to my career – meeting and learning from everyone that I have had the opportunity of working with from all the different placements. Building relationships and contacts is just one of the many assets the apprenticeship has offered me. This award is great recognition for all the effort and hard work that has gone into the past four years, and I look forward to continuing on as I leave the apprenticeship scheme and start my electronics engineering career.”

4th Year winner, Abby Verney, looks back at her Manufacturing apprenticeship with fondness. “My apprenticeship journey has been one I will never forget and I cannot believe the progress and achievements I have had so far in my career," she says. "I would like to thank everyone who has supported my development so far and I can’t wait to continue to grow within the business now I have completed my apprenticeship. To be recognised for my hard work and dedication has really made it all worthwhile!”

Jasmine Nicholson is looking forward to her career in Finance after completing her Business apprenticeship: “I am delighted to have won the Final Year Business Apprentice award! It feels great to be recognised for my contribution to the programme. Going forward, I will fully focus on my career in Finance, whilst continuing to stay in touch with the Apprenticeship team, as I wouldn’t have won this award without all their support and guidance.”

Of the more than 330 people on training programmes with Leonardo in the UK, some 200 are on the Electronics and Cyber & Security apprenticeship schemes, available at the company’s Basildon, Bristol, Edinburgh, Lincoln, Luton and Southampton sites. Another 115 trainees are on similar schemes at Leonardo’s site in Yeovil, the Home of British Helicopters.

Each year, Leonardo UK welcomes over 180 new apprentices, graduates and placement students taking their first steps on their careers in engineering, cyber security, aeronautics, programme and project management, as well as a range of business support roles.

Applications for our 2024 UK Early Career roles are now live.