Ruth Davidson meets Apprentices and Graduates at Leonardo's Edinburgh site

07 August 2019

Scottish Conservative Leader, Rt Hon Ruth Davidson MSP, visited Leonardo's Edinburgh site yesterday to meet apprentices and graduates, while receiving a briefing on the company and discussing its priorities around increasing sustainable innovation for decades to come.

Norman Bone, Chairman & Managing Director UK, described the exciting role Leonardo plays as a key component of the UK’s advanced engineering sector, our investment in skills and intellectual property, and our impact regionally in Scotland. This included the role we will play as part of the Team Tempest consortium developing future UK-led combat aircraft capabilities. The discussion was broadened to a conversation around the work Leonardo is doing to develop the next generation of talent who will be responsible for imagining the engineering of the future on which our industry will depend.

Members of Leonardo's STEM community, including Paul Davidson, Findlay Shields, Sarah Cooper and Amy Edwards, described their work to Ruth, demonstrating how they approach the challenge of sharing just why engineering provides such an exciting environment. They also met Lizzie Hutchison, Skills Investment Advisor at Skills Development Scotland, along with Leonardo's Director International Affairs Philip Pratley, Director Skills and Capability Lynda McVay, and University Liaison & Emerging Technologies Manager Allan Colquhoun.

Sarah Cooper, Graduate Hardware Engineer, said: "During our meeting with Ruth, we spoke about each of our individual journeys which led us to working at Leonardo. She was very interested in the varied pathways that you can take into engineering after leaving school and we discussed the importance of encouraging apprenticeships and placements to school leavers and university students in order to reduce the skills gap."

Paul Davidson had the opportunity to share information about his graduate apprenticeship, which allows him to study a degree while working. He said: "I had the chance to represent the graduate apprenticeship alongside Findlay Shields. Ruth was really keen to learn about everyone’s journeys into engineering and what inspired us to enter this field, learning about the variety of programmes available and the heritage of the company. She was impressed at the time sacrifice that the Graduate-level apprentices were giving up in order to be successful in the workplace, while studying at university."

Speaking about the visit, Philip Pratley, Director International Affairs UK, added: "There was great discussion with our apprentices and graduates around careers in engineering, STEM and lifelong learning, and the strength of our heritage upon which our innovation is built."