Sophie Harrison

31 January 2023
Production Material Support Planner

Meet Sophie, a Production Material Support Planner, who recently completed an apprenticeship at our Yeovil site. In 2022, Sophie was named winner of the Business Apprentice Final Year category at the Make UK Manufacturing Award National Finals.

What is your current role at Leonardo? 

Production Material Support Planner. This involves working with the Final Assembly Line to manage materials used to build the customers’ products.

What did you study at school and college?

At school, I studied Higher Maths, English, Art & Design, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Drama and BTEC Business Level 2.

I then went on to study BTEC Business Level 3 at college.

Why did you decide to join Leonardo? 

I chose to complete an apprenticeship at Leonardo because I am a very practical learner, meaning that I find it easier to understand and remember things when they are shown to me. Being an apprentice at Leonardo was great for me, as I was taught by experienced and knowledgeable senior mentors. 

The apprenticeship also gave me the opportunity to network within the company, and work in a number of different departments such as HR, Operations, Programmes, Procurement and Transmissions. From my apprenticeship, I have gained a broad overview of the company, met some inspiring individuals, and gained an insight into the processes used within different departments across the company. 

Tell us what you do in a typical day

The daily tasks vary, as it is all dependent on the Final Assembly Line and their requirements. My overall objective is to make sure that parts are available and in stock by the required dates of build. I support with the closure of Quality Notifications (which are raised when a part is deemed as unserviceable and cannot be used for build) until the issue is resolved. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy working closely on our products because I know that all of my efforts contribute directly with building the aircraft. I also enjoy the environment of the Final Assembly Line: it’s fast-paced, and you never know the sort of problems that may arise, which keeps the role interesting. I enjoy supporting the Build Line because I get to communicate with a variety of people internal and external to Leonardo.

What have been your biggest achievements at Leonardo so far?

One of the biggest achievements of my apprenticeship was receiving three awards at the Yeovil Trainee Charity Dinner 2022. These included The Managing Director’s Cup, The Business Apprentice of the Year Award, and The Most Committed Trainee Charity member award. It was fantastic to see that the hard work and determination throughout my apprenticeship had paid off.

Another massive achievement of mine is being a part of the Yeovil Trainee Charity and Social Committee, which meant that I was involved in organising the 2022 Beer and Cider Festival. This event had not taken place for over three years due to Covid-19, and we managed to raise a total of over £3,500, making it the most successful Beer and Cider Festival yet! This contributed towards our grand total of more than £88,000 raised for the Yeovil Hospital Breast Cancer Unit over three years. 

In January, I won the Business Apprentice Final Year award at the Make UK Manufacturing Award National Finals in London. This was a huge milestone in my career, and proved that through hard work, commitment and dedication, you really can achieve anything.

What are your career aspirations?

My goal is to work hard, receive a promotion, and take up a management role looking after a team of people in an operations-based department. This would mean more responsibility and will allow me to develop my decision-making skills even further. I would really like to have a long career at Leonardo, gaining lots of experience along the way to help me to progress into a senior management role.

Another one of my long-term career goals is to expand my professional network. I believe that having the right support around you can benefit yourself and also your peers. I plan to build a strong network that enables me to achieve the objectives set by my manager.