Nick Riley

Project Manager

Nick Riley

What did you study at school?

For my GCSEs, I did the core subjects plus ICT, Science, Graphics and History. I then did Business Studies, ICT and Maths for my A-Levels.


Why did you think an apprenticeship was the right path for your career development?

The apprenticeship meant I could earn whilst learning. The opportunity to further my education whilst kick-starting my career was ideal. At the age of 16 it is difficult to know which career path you want to go down, but with this apprenticeship I was able to gain hands-on experience in a range of business areas such as Commercial, Project Planning and Procurement.


Why did you choose to join Leonardo?

I chose Leonardo, as the prospect of working within an innovative and technologically advanced organisation providing expertise into the armed forces around the world was an exciting opportunity.


What is your current position with the Company?

I joined the company’s apprenticeship scheme in 2008 and progressed to a Project and Bid Co-ordinator role. In 2012, I become a Bid Manager within the division’s Surveillance and Protection Technologies Line of Business. My current role is Project Manager of Defensive Aid System Controllers and Radar Warning Receivers. My day-to-day accountabilities include managing the project plans to ensure the programmes are delivered to schedule, quality and cost. This includes resource scheduling, briefing the team, working through export clearances, assessing the risk impact, and health and safety assessments; whilst also being the focal point for colleague and customer liaison.


Tell us about your typical week?

No week is the same. Working on projects with customers in the USA and Far East means I’m either starting early or finishing late – sometimes both! But it keeps me on my toes!


What do you like most about your job?

Having a good team around me and the opportunity to see the aircraft in action! That’s pretty cool and not something you see every day.


What has been your best moment/biggest achievement at Leonardo so far?

I took on a six-month placement to project manage a team on an innovative development programme for an export customer’s loan contract to fly at a NATO training programme. We completed a full life-cycle process through the stages of design, build, test, qualification and certification for an alternative version of the system within 39 days. The resulting customer feedback was exceptional, and following project completion, I personally delivered a presentation at an all employee briefing to showcase our team’s achievement.


What do you hope to do next?

I hope to progress through the management hierarchy, taking on more responsibility for people, projects and key decision making.


Why should someone consider an apprenticeship as a career option?

When I was leaving school there was a push for everyone at the time to go to university. I went against this advice and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been given opportunities to travel, meet new people and have experienced so much more that I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t have taken on the apprenticeship.