Sam Powell

Graduate Procurement

Meet Sam. During his two years on the Leonardo Graduate Programme, his procurement role has provided him with international travel and opportunities, working in Integrated Project Teams to keep activities varied and developing important relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

19 June 2019

Tell us about yourself

My job title is ‘Graduate Procurement’ and I’m based in Basildon. Born and bred in Chester, I’m interested in a variety of things ranging from the UK’s role in global defence (from a political and technical perspective) to playing football for my local team. I aspire to learn a foreign language and complete my CIPS exams over the short-to-medium term.

Why did you join Leonardo?

I joined the company in September 2017 after completing a Business Management degree at the University of Sheffield. I originally heard about Leonardo through online graduate job postings. Initially, I was intrigued about the global nature of the company and its placement within the Aerospace & Defence industry. As I worked my way through the application process, my interest developed as I learned about Leonardo’s involvement in programmes such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and Counter-UAV systems.

What does life on the Graduate Programme entail?

Upon embarking Leonardo's Graduate Programme, I was greeted with several days of inductions which provided clarity regarding what my responsibilities were and what I could expect from Leonardo, the role HR would play in my development, a chance to ‘meet the team’, and awareness sessions surrounding such things as ‘Trade Compliance’.

In the two years since joining, the programme has allowed me to work within numerous Integrated Project Teams (IPT), keeping my activities varied, whilst simultaneously providing me the opportunity to develop important relationships with a range of internal and external stakeholders.

During my graduate experience, I’ve been fortunate enough to undertake two secondments within the business (firstly within ‘Commercial’, and secondly within ‘Legal & Compliance’). Aside from the opportunities presented in my day-to-day work (discussed below), this gave me the option to see ‘the other side of the coin’ given how closely ‘Commercial’ and ‘Procurement’ work together, but also allowed me to work on some of the key ethical concerns within Legal & Compliance, on behalf of the business at large.

My day job typically involves understanding the project’s needs and how this impacts upon the supply chain. This may involve engaging suppliers to understand the limits of their capabilities, looking to raise a contract amendment or negotiating and implementing a Non-Disclosure Agreement. However, one thing that is consistent across all activities is to assess what impact the information received has on the project, and what actions and stakeholders need to be engaged in order to mitigate or exploit the situation.

How are you preparing for the International Graduate Conference?

As part of the two-year graduate programme, we undertake modules designed to introduce you into the business and our fellow graduates. This evolves to include workshops that allow us to explore what motivates us, how we perform best, and what working within high-performing teams looks like. This all culminates in the final module at the end of the programme – the International Graduate Conference. This affords each graduate the chance to visit the different sites in the UK and in Italy in order to successfully complete these modules.

I have also travelled to the USA and Italy to visit suppliers in support of key contract negotiations. This has enabled me to further understand the cultural differences within national defence industries, whilst also seeing first-hand the strong reputation Leonardo commands internationally. Without doubt, this has been the highlight of my graduate experience thus far at Leonardo.

Planning the Graduate Conference has been an international effort with colleagues from sites across the UK and Italy taking part in our team. Our project topic is ‘Intellectual Property Management’ and has seen various views and perspectives offered from the team in order to establish our position to-date. The work is rewarding as the team identified where Intellectual Property Rights overlap and diverge, and how this impacts our day-to-day work. We learned fairly quickly that video conferences weren’t always feasible because of room availability, and have since strived to make it as easy as possible for all members to attend through alternative arrangements. This has enabled us to circumnavigate any communication issues and allowed the team to be as agile as we have needed it to be!