Elissa Blake

Yeovil  10 February 2020
Craft Machining Apprentice

Meet Elissa Blake. She joined Leonardo in November 2018 as a Craft Machining Apprentice, in order to develop her passion for machining and engineering, while earning a salary and gaining new experience, knowledge and qualifications.

What did you study at school?

At school I studied Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, English, Geography, Music and PE. As a pupil there, I also took part in creating and racing the Green Power car, which is where my passion for machining and engineering comes from.

What apprenticeship are you completing?

I am completing the Level 3 Craft Machining Apprenticeship.

Why did you think an apprenticeship was the right path for your career development?

An apprenticeship allows me and others to learn, gain experience and get a qualification whilst working in the job and earning money. This also allows students to get an extra head start in life.

Why did you join Leonardo?

I heard and read about the apprenticeships that Leonardo offer, so decided to sign up. The main reason I joined Leonardo is that they offered so much more than any other company I had been told about. I knew a couple of people who worked on-site and I’d always heard positive reviews about the company and how great their facilities are.

Straight from school, I knew I would love to do an apprenticeship, as it would allow me to get the job experience whilst earning good money at the same time. When I heard about everything Leonardo has to offer, I knew I had to apply.

What is your current job role at Leonardo?

I am currently completing the 2nd year of the Craft Machining Apprenticeship.

Tell us what you do in a typical day/week

I’m currently working on-site, in the machine shop for four days a week, and I do one day a week at college. In the machine shop, I get to work with a variety of skilled people and apprentices on different machines. We also complete training courses that allow us to become skilled in specific areas. Through the training courses, we’re also able to network with other employees who are based across the large Yeovil site. At college I am currently studying Level 3 Health and Safety, Communications, BTEC Maths and Materials.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

I enjoy being in the team that creates key parts in a range of different helicopters and seeing some of the aircraft flying around the Yeovil site. Knowing that I have made parts for various helicopters makes me feel very proud. I also enjoy working in such a friendly environment and making connections with people across the site.

What have been your biggest achievements at Leonardo so far?

Whilst working in one of my placements, a technical challenge occurred on one of the bigger machines, which we initially struggled to solve, before I came up with the solution. As an apprentice, I felt a huge sense of success. That day was the day I first felt that I was able to put something into the company and the work that we do.

What related activities are you involved in outside your specific job role?

I am a member Leonardo’s apprentice association in Yeovil, and through this I participate in some of the events which help raise money for our chosen charity. This year, we’re fundraising for the Yeovil Hospital Charity’s Breast Cancer Unit Appeal.

Through our training department at work, I also get involved in a range of STEM events including on-site open evenings, college information evenings and trips into schools.

What are your career aspirations?

My career aspirations at Leonardo are to move up the positions in transmissions. I would love to become a manager in the machine shop or a training manager for future apprentices later on in my career. At the moment, my focus is on completing my apprenticeship and then staying as a shop floor worker until the next opportunity comes up.

Why should someone consider an apprenticeship at Leonardo?

Leonardo offers many different apprenticeships across its departments, which means there are many opportunities for young people. The company is a great place to work, offering plenty of opportunities and extracurricular / STEM events for apprentices to become a part of. It also has many facilities on-site to help all apprentices and employees. This includes the company’s wide spectrum support system, occupational health, on-site shops and canteen, and employee extras like the apprentice association, trainee communications and the Leonardo benefits scheme.

What are you doing after your apprenticeship finishes?

After I have completed my apprenticeship at Leonardo, I’m hoping to get my skilled person qualification and continue working on-site in the machine shop. I also plan to gain more practical skills to further my career here.

Apprenticeships at Leonardo

Apprenticeships at Leonardo

Our highly-regarded apprenticeship programmes – covering hardware and software engineering, business and cyber security – offer intensive training programme lasting 2-4 years, which results in apprentices graduating with a substantial depth of skills in their specialist area.