Supporting and nurturing our apprentices

06 February 2024

For ‘Employer Tuesday’ of National Apprenticeship Week 2024, Leonardo UK Early Careers Business Managers, Theresa Stephens and Darren Humphryes, explain their roles in managing the apprenticeship programmes and supporting apprentices throughout the duration of their schemes.

In our roles, we look after over 60 apprentices based in Leonardo’s Electronics and Cyber Security businesses at Basildon, Southampton and Bristol sites, supporting them in their educational programmes across a range of subjects and levels. Our teams in Luton, Edinburgh and Yeovil (in our helicopter business) have other Early Careers Business Partners looking after them.

Leonardo apprentices meet at the start of their programme

Every day is different as we spread our time between apprentices, placement managers and learning providers, as well as hundreds of admin tasks and emails weekly. We both thoroughly enjoy working with the apprentices and assisting their success throughout their journey.

Academic Partnerships

As well as ensuring each apprentice keeps up with both the studying and working aspects of the schemes, and has the support they need, our roles as Early Careers Business Managers involve working in partnership with many colleges and universities all over the south of England. These academic institutions provide a variety of courses to complement the work that our apprentices do at their respective sites alongside our experienced employees.

Managing the breadth of learning providers and variety of delivery methods available through our apprenticeship programmes is time-consuming. However, we want to ensure we always have the best providers for our apprenticeships. We are looking at private providers to ensure that we are moving with the times and that the apprentices are getting the best learning experience possible.

We offer Level 2 or 3 Manufacturing, Logistics, Technical or Business apprenticeships which are two or three years long, as well as four-year degree apprenticeships in Project Management, Software, Electronics and Systems. Depending on the level of learning required, apprentices are allocated either one or two study days per week in order to attend their respective college or university. Similarly, degree apprentices have a weekly study day. Through this commitment to learning and success, Leonardo prides itself on our extremely high success and retention rate. In fact, many of those who stay with the company eventually become senior leaders across our sites and our Lines of Business.


In order to maximise their exposure to as many relevant parts of Leonardo UK’s business as possible, apprentices follow a placement plan throughout their scheme. This involves moving around various business areas for a period of two to six months each. Their final placement tends to be where they remain in the business, and is selected based on the apprentice’s preferred area of work as well as consideration of business needs.

Transitioning into permanent jobs

Most of our apprentices move into permanent roles with Leonardo once they have completed their apprenticeship, as long as their qualifications are achieved and behaviour (which is part of their is qualification) are acceptable. Exceptional performances are also rewarded through our annual Apprentice of the Year competitions, which recognise the best apprentices on each site, as well as at UK level.


Leonardo apprentices present their projects during the IMeche Automation Challenge

There are also external career-related competitions that we enter our best apprentices into, such as the IMechE Automation Challenge and the Make UK apprentice Annual Awards. We also support those apprentices who are nominated in competitions, including the Multicultural Apprentice of the Year or the WISE awards, which champion Women in STEM.

Promoting STEM

Alongside their studies and practical experience, our apprentices participate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) outreach activities, visiting schools, colleges and career events to promote the benefits and opportunities of a STEM career. They share their personal experiences and encourage students to consider apprenticeships at Leonardo. Being a STEM Ambassador is a great networking experience too, and helps develop public speaking and presenting skills.

A Leonardo apprentice engages with visitors at the Big Bang Fair

Our monthly apprentices’ forum enables participants to promote their STEM work, as well as any Leonardo employee initiatives they are involved with – such as Inclusion & Diversity Network Groups or site-based social groups – sharing latest information and encouraging their peers to take advantage of available opportunities.

Earn and learn

Apprentices are paid monthly and they are on a competitive salary that increases every year of the apprenticeship. They also have access to a generous benefits package that is available to all employees at Leonardo. This makes an apprenticeship very attractive at Leonardo and entices quality candidates to join us.

We are currently in the process of recruiting apprentices for our September 2024 intake, and are seeing the numbers of available positions continue to grow every year.