Award-winning Women Engineers
In February 2022, Anna won the 'Rising Star' category at the 2022 WorldSkills UK Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Heroes Awards, which celebrate individuals championing inclusion and diversity (I&D) within business.
Upon winning the award, Anna said: "I was extremely proud to win, since I&D is something that I am proud to work towards. I am also delighted to act as a role model for the next generation of engineers, especially young girls, showing them that you can accomplish great things as a female engineer."
This is the second time Anna has won an award, having previously been named as one of the winners of the Electronics Weekly BrightSparks award in March 2020, which ‘recognises the talent of some of the brightest young electronics engineers working in the UK today’. This was just six months after she joined Leonardo as a Graduate Electronics Engineer in Edinburgh.
Devon Ward, a Mechanical Degree Apprentice in Aerospace at Leonardo’s Yeovil site, won the 2021 Engineering Apprentice Rising Star Award at the Make UK Awards.
Devon joined Leonardo's degree apprenticeship scheme in 2017, aged 18, having grown up in Yeovil and become very used to the sound and sight of helicopters flying overhead.
Leonardo was a desirable and exciting company to me, and I looked into its apprenticeships. I always had a desire to continue my education and advance my qualifications, so the degree apprenticeship scheme was the perfect choice, allowing me to do so while gaining the work experience and professional development I was eager for," she explains.
Devon was also part of the Leonardo's student and apprentice association committee in Yeovil, spending a year each as Vice Chair and then Chair – the first person to hold both roles during the association's 80-year existence.
Fiona Clark, Head of Capability (EW Sensors) at Leonardo UK, won the Princess Royal's WISE Lifetime Achievement Award 2024, in recognition of her outstanding professional achievements and contribution to STEM outreach during the past four decades.
The WISE Awards celebrate outstanding women in STEM, as well as organisations that are making impactful changes to their gender balance.
The judging panel commended Fiona “as an inspiring example of a role model who actively demonstrates how a woman can rise to senior levels in an organisation without sacrificing her motivating values. Using respect and kindness, Fiona senses when someone is struggling, and takes the time to have a coffee with them and offer support.” The judges also noted that “this intelligent compassion is a rare quality in someone at her level,” and that they were impressed by her outreach work, encouraging more women to enter the STEM sector.
Speaking after receiving her award, Fiona said: “I am absolutely over the moon to have been given this award, recognising not just my work achievements, but also my passion for supporting our young engineers and encouraging young women, in particular, into STEM careers. The event was packed with amazing, inspirational women, all of whom had great stories to tell but firmly believed we are all ‘just doing our day jobs’. I’d like to say a huge thank you to my colleague, Olivia Freestone, for nominating me, WISE for the award and a lovely, uplifting evening, and to Leonardo for the last 40 years of fun!”
While undertaking her year in industry with Leonardo in Edinburgh, Katie was recognised for her work with the company, by winning the Innovation Prize at the 2020 Engineering Development Trust’s Year in Industry ‘Contribution to the Business’ (CTTB) Awards.
The CTTB Awards recognise students’ achievements during their year in industry and how they have positively impacted the business they’ve been working in.
Katie explained: “I won my innovation award for my work creating a software tool that will be used to model different sorts of wire antenna at Leonardo. The judges were impressed by the steep learning curve that I undertook, as well as my ingenuity and how innovative and useful my tool was. I was so grateful to win a prize; I really felt recognised for all the hard work I’ve put in over the last year.”
Principal Systems Engineer, James Pearce, who was Katie’s line manager during her placement, said: “Katie's faced stiff competition from all the other Year in Industry students across the country. Being a high technology company, technological innovation is one of the cornerstones of Leonardo's success, and is something we actively encourage. We are extremely proud of Katie, and are delighted that her project has been recognised in such a positive way.”
In January 2023, Kayley won the Rising Star Award at the 2022 Make UK Engineering national finals in London, having initially been named as South Regional in 2022.
She said: "I am extremely proud to be given this award as a female shop floor apprentice, and hope that the next stage of my career is as successful, as I take on a degree apprenticeship with the company.”
Kayley joined Leonardo as a craft mechanical apprentice, and will be starting her apprenticeship degree programme soon.
Lisa Daniel was named Apprentice of the Year (Level 4 and above) at the 2017 Scottish Apprenticeship Awards in November, in recognition of her exceptional levels of commitment and maturity demonstrated in her approach to her work in the Quality Assurance (QA) department at the Edinburgh site.
Lisa (pictured on the right) joined Leonardo in 2013 and was nominated for the award due to the impact she's made to the QA team since then. She completed her 4-year Technical Apprenticeship in autumn 2017 and is now a Product Assurance Technician, being the main point of contact for QA issues within the integrated project team at Edinburgh.
After winning the award, Lisa said: "I am overwhelmed with pride to have won this award. It’s been a great achievement considering the competition from all over Scotland. Leonardo has provided me with an excellent and varied apprenticeship programme which has allowed me to build upon my skills and knowledge, and continually better myself. It’s been great being an apprentice and I would love to encourage anyone out there considering an apprenticeship to go for it – it can provide you with further education whilst gaining valuable experience in the work place."
Her line manager and Head of QA, Mike Lees, added: "We're proud of Lisa and delighted she's won this award. She conducts herself with great maturity and demonstrates Leonardo's values in all her work. She's thoughtful and taker time to reflect before taking action, and is able to adapt to change environment and situation. Lisa drives her own career development and is hungry to contribute even more. Her customer awareness, team work and coaching skills show the first sign of leadership characteristics, which are way beyond what I could have expected from someone who is at such an early stage in their career. It all appears to be so natural or effortless to her."
Sophie Caffrey was named Apprentice of the Year at the 2018 FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards in February, in recognition of her contributions to engineering projects and to outreach work undertaken as a STEM Ambassador, engaging with many secondary school pupils through a variety of engineering-related initiatives.
It was the first year that the awards have recognised an outstanding apprentice. Since establishing the awards in 2011, they have aimed to promote successful STEM role models to inspire the younger generation to follow in their footsteps. With this year’s theme being ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s World’, the 2018 FDM everywoman awards focused on the importance of nurturing an interest in STEM subjects from a young age – something Sophie is actively involved with as a STEM Ambassador. Currently, there’s a dearth of women students pursuing these subjects, with only 17.2% of computer science students and 17% of engineering & technology students being women.
Sophie, who is a third year technical apprentice, was inspired to pursue engineering after visiting her first-ever Apprentice Open Day at Leonardo. Her first complete project as an apprentice saw her taking responsibility for the design of a Printed Circuit Board, which was subsequently used on every global trial of the related product in 2017.
In addition to this award, Sophie was a finalist in the IET's Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2017, due to her passion for helping young people understand more about the full span of STEM Careers which they could pursue in the future.
“Winning the apprenticeship category at the inaugural FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards was a huge honour,” said Sophie. “Along with being a finalist in the IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year (YWE) Awards on the 40th anniversary of the prize, in December 2017, it has been an amazing experience to be involved in these competitions and to have met so many inspirational engineering role models. For me, it is also satisfying to see the value of apprenticeships being recognised, as well as the contribution apprentices make to so many industries.”
Kam Perry, Engineering Director of Leonardo’s Electronics business in the UK, added: “We’re so proud of Sophie’s award win. She is an outstanding STEM Ambassador – both in her role and in the outreach work she does in the community. Well done Sophie!”
Sophie, who is a Production MAterial Support Planner, won the 2022 Business Apprentice Final Year award at the Make UK Manufacturing Award National Finals.
Following her award, Sophie said: "This was a huge milestone in my career, and proves that through hard work, commitment and dedication, you really can achieve anything."
Outside of her day-to-day role, Sophie was also part of the Yeovil Trainee Charity and Social Committee, which raised over £88,000 for the Yeovil Hospital Breast Cancer Unit during a three-year period.