New report reveals that careers in fighter jet and helicopter technology are propelling improvements in social mobility across the UK

19 July 2022

Research by the Purpose Coalition highlights a dramatic 50% expansion in defence and security company Leonardo's UK-wide early careers intake in 2023.

The increase is being driven by high tech future projects such as Tempest, the UK’s next generation fighter jet project, which will require a new generation of highly-skilled engineers

With sites in socially disadvantaged regions, Leonardo is providing life-changing opportunities for young people through its apprenticeship schemes

The Purpose Coalition, which seeks to improve social mobility in the UK, has published a new report which shows how one of the UK’s biggest defence and security companies is benefitting disadvantaged regions by providing life-changing career opportunities. The “Levelling Up Impact Report” was unveiled today by Purpose Coalition Chair the Rt Hon Justine Greening at a launch event at Farnborough International Airshow.

The new research focuses on Leonardo, best known for its production of the UK’s military helicopters and the cutting-edge electronics on-board the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon fleet. In it, the Purpose Coalition identifies how the company is helping to meet a number of the coalition’s ‘Levelling Up Goals’, one of which is ‘positive destinations post 16+’. Leonardo is one of the UK’s largest employers of engineering apprentices and graduates, and invests about £3.5 million annually in employee training and development.

Amongst the findings is that Leonardo is set for a dramatic expansion in early careers opportunities across its UK sites next year, driven in large part by the company’s core position in the UK’s “Tempest” Future Combat Air System (FCAS) project. The Tempest initiative will see the Royal Air Force flying a futuristic new aircraft by 2035.

Projects like Tempest will rely on the innovation of the next generation of skilled engineers, which is why Leonardo is planning to hire an additional 300 apprentices, industrial placements and graduate scheme starters in 2023. This will bring the total number of young people on early careers schemes to 900, an increase of 50% in a single year. With sites from Scotland to Somerset, some in very socially disadvantaged communities, many of the apprenticeships will represent potentially life-changing opportunities for those taking them up.

Rt Hon Justine Greening, Chair of the Purpose Coalition, said: “This report clearly demonstrates that defence companies can be part of the solution in improving social mobility in this country. Not only do they make a significant contribution to the economy and provide highly skilled jobs, they can also create opportunity in areas where they have traditionally been scarce. Leonardo is delivering social impact in the communities where it operates. Its commitment to making a difference is shown by the work detailed in this report and by its willingness to continue to challenge itself to go even further.”

Norman Bone, Chair and CEO, Leonardo UK said: “Leonardo is a business with purpose. Our scientists and engineers are proud to deliver cutting-edge technologies, products and services which underpin the world-leading capabilities of our Armed Forces and our customers around the world. We maintain a competitive business by investing in our people and their skills and nurturing a more diverse new generation of talent. Our partnership with the Purpose Coalition a very natural next step in our ambition to extend good social and employment opportunities more widely. 

With an individual’s life chances too often defined by their background or gender, another key levelling up goal covered by the report is to ‘achieve equality through diversity and inclusion’. Under this heading, the Purpose Coalition highlight a number of Leonardo initiatives including the company’s outreach and mentoring to encourage more young women to consider a rewarding career in engineering. 

Other levelling up goals covered by the report include how Leonardo is helping to ‘harness the energy transition’ and fight climate change. As it continues its transformation into a sustainable business, Leonardo UK is committed to achieving Net Zero by 2030 for its Scope 1 and 2 emissions. At an international level, Leonardo ranks among the global sustainability leaders in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.

Early Careers at Leonardo

Leonardo UK offers a wide range of early careers opportunities in the UK including apprenticeships, graduate programme, industrial placements, summer placements and work experience.

Early Careers at Leonardo

Generation Tempest

Generation Tempest

As part of Generation Tempest, the Royal Air Force and its industry partners are committed to promoting the future opportunities available to young people by embracing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Sustainability

Leonardo integrates sustainability into all aspects of our business to create long-term value and generate positive economic, social and environmental impacts for the company and our stakeholders.

Sustainability

Driving Britain's Prosperity through Inspiration, Invention and Engineering

Driving Britain's Prosperity through Inspiration, Invention and Engineering

Leonardo’s UK operations contributed £1.9 billion to the economy annually, supporting over 26,000 British jobs. With our focus on high-value work, our employees are shown to be 80% more productive than the UK average.