Mechanical Engineering Technician
When did you join Leonardo?
I joined the apprenticeship scheme straight from school was I was 17, and recently completed the four-year programme. I had the option of going to university, but thought an earning and learning environment would be better for me.
Throughout school, mechanical design was always a passion of mine. It was always my strongest subject, and when I was applying for a technical apprenticeship, Leonardo stood out because of the work it puts into its development schemes and the reputation they had of being one of the best in the business.
What are your main tasks as a Mechanical Engineering Technician?
My role as a mechanical engineering technician is to carry out change procedures to current products models and drawings, to ensure they are fit-for-purpose before going to a customer. I also do quite a lot of prototype work on our newer products, from the layout of a Printed Circuit Board to contributing to the design of an entire chassis.
Tell us about a typical day?
An average day comprises 3D modelling, much of which is done on the computer. The modelling process has to be done correctly in order to produce correlating drawings quickly and efficiently, which requires a lot of skill. I also attend meetings with various teams about project models. Being highly proficient in 3D modelling software, good teamwork and communication skills are essential in my role.
Learning while working was the most challenging part of the apprenticeship; the software we use is very complex, and it's taken me over a year for me to gather the skills that allow me to perform the tasks I now face daily.
What has been your best moment/biggest achievement at Leonardo so far?
There are various achievements I've been really proud of. I won the company’s internal Apprentice of the Year award in my second year, and have been a member of the charity committee. During my time on the committee we raised thousands of pounds for Cancer Research when I was part of a team that successfully completed Tough Mudder in 2013. Being runner-up at Skills Development Scotland's 2015 Modern Apprenticeship Awards is also a great honour. During my apprenticeship, I also gained an HNC and HND in Engineering Systems at college, and will be starting a part-time degree in mechanical engineering at Edinburgh Napier University in September 2016.
What related activities are you involved with outside your specific job role?
I am a STEM ambassador and regularly visit local schools to promote engineering as a career, Leonardo as a company, and the apprenticeship scheme as a whole. I hope to maintain links with the apprenticeship scheme as I progress through the company because of all it has given me. I'd like to ensure it continues to grow and offers other young people the same, if not more, opportunities that were available to me.
Why do you enjoy working at Leonardo?
My favourite part of the job is the people I work with at Leonardo. It's a very friendly environment. No two days are the same, with different challenges each day. There's always new exciting prototype work to get to grips with and current products needing updates to incorporate new technology.
I feel that working here has given me countless opportunities that I would not have been granted at university. Nowhere else would I have developed the skillset I have in the time I’ve been given. Nor would I have built up the work ethic I have, which has developed rapidly from being in industry for the past four years.