Our continued support to Women in Defence

28 September 2022

Leonardo is proud to participate in the Women in Defence mentoring scheme for a second year, supporting 20 colleagues from across the UK business to participate.

A year on from Leonardo’s first involvement with the Women in Defence mentoring programme, the company’s second cohort of mentees and mentors is about to start, reinforcing our commitment to promoting gender balance across the defence industry.

Rachel Ruxton, Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Leonardo UK, explains: “Leonardo’s funding of 20 programme places (ten mentees and ten mentors) demonstrates just one of the ways the business is striving towards reducing its gender pay gap, ensuring participants feel supported in their careers, have access to different perspectives and are confident their career development is invested in, at a time when retention is key. The programme also seeks to create more awareness of the blockers in career progression for females, and helps to bring inclusion to life for mentors in the programme.”

One of the participants from the first cohort was Rachael Carlin, Leonardo UK’s Head of Software Engineering (RATS), who was mentored by Linda Cairney MBA, Royal Navy Training Advisor. Rachael says the programme has been a “really positive experience getting to know Linda and learn from her. I gained so much support and insight from Linda, whose experience in the Navy enabled her to give me relevant advice and guidance to my current role. She was instrumental in advising me prior to an interview for a new job within Leonardo, and gave me the encouragement and confidence I needed to succeed.”

Armed with a new role and access to Linda “whenever I need it”, Rachael says she would “definitely recommend” the mentoring programme to other people. “It provides a safe environment where you can ask questions you wouldn’t normally ask of your colleagues, and it ‘lifts you out’ of the situation, allowing you to regain perspective. Overall it’s a hugely supportive and psychologically safe environment in which to grow, reflect and learn.”

In addition to partaking in the mentoring programme, Leonardo was one of the first signatories of the Women in Defence Charter in 2019. The company is also signed up to the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter.

Learn more about the Women in Defence mentoring programme.

The Right Direction

Leonardo is a proud member of the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE). To coincide with our sponsorship of this year’s AFBE Live event, we spoke with Leonardo’s Ethnicity Network Group STEM Lead and Mechanical Engineer, Arvind Mahendran, about the importance of mentorship and representation when challenging the barriers around diversity and social mobility.

The Right Direction