Leonardo: Elin

Leonardo creates a welcoming and supportive environment to ensure everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential

As a high-performing student, Elin was looking towards university to continue her education before being diagnosed with dyslexia just before her A-Levels. This led her to reassess the career path that was best for her

Taking your first steps

“While taking my GCSEs, my school was encouraging me to go to university, taking me to conferences in London and events at Oxbridge. My grades for were good enough and as it was seen as the right thing to do, I was ignoring the signs that a traditional way of studying may not be the best choice for me.

“It was at this time that I was diagnosed with dyslexia. The diagnosis affected me hugely—I believed the stereotype that this meant I was stupid and not able to achieve what I wanted. It really affected my mental wellbeing and I began to suffer chronic migraines resulting in my doctor writing a letter to say I could not take my A-levels.

“However, as I learned more about my condition, I discovered the support available and realised that I did not have to deal with it by myself.” 

After a break, Elin completed her A-levels at Luton
College and while there, she had the opportunity to participate in work experience at international aerospace and defence company, Leonardo. The company has more than 500 people on training schemes at its seven sites across the UK.

“I felt I was having the time of my life learning about engineering and meeting new people. We were looking at design, soldering things, and the whole week inspired me.

“By then I knew that university wasn’t for me, and I worked full-time for two years; however, I still dreamt of becoming an engineer with no idea of how I was going to do it. I couldn’t go back to full-time education as I was already earning and I didn’t think it would suit my learning style. As I had enjoyed my time at Leonardo, I decided to look into the apprenticeships they offered and they almost seemed too good to be true.

“I could go to college one day a week to get professional qualifications, and then apply everything I learnt to my job, which would reinforce my knowledge and keep me engaged and motivated—and I would still be earning an income! It was the perfect solution to start my career and achieve my dream job as an engineer.”

Achieving all you can

“As a technical apprentice, my role varies day to day. I am completing a series of three-month placements across the business. One of the most interesting has been working on Praetorian DASS (Defensive Aids Sub-System). This system integrates with the Royal Air Force typhoons and helps protect the aircraft and bring the crew home safe.

“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship and have been awarded both the England Electronics Apprentice of the Year (Second Year) and UK Electronics Apprentice of the Year (Second Year). But it’s not all been about work and I am currently organising the Luton site’s Family Fun Day, which celebrates the work we do at the site and gives my colleagues and their families a fun day out. I’ve also loved being a part of the company’s STEM outreach activities. I’m really passionate about telling those considering engineering about the opportunities available through apprenticeships, no matter what their background or skill set—creativity is just as important as being good at maths!”

Helping others to fulfil their potential

“This passion has led to some fantastic opportunities. I have been a part of the Leonardo Early Careers recruitment campaign and recently joined a panel at the launch of the company’s Social Mobility Impact Report, launched at Farnborough International Airshow 2022, to highlight how schemes like our apprenticeships are providing opportunities for diverse communities up and down the country. 

“The company is doing a lot at the moment to ensure it provides a welcoming and safe working environment. We have network groups led by our employees focusing on pride, gender and ethnicity balance, as well as wellbeing, carers and disabilities. These have allowed me to share my experiences with dyslexia and contribute to proposals on how to improve accessibility for others across the company.

“It’s been great to make a real difference!”

To find out more about Life at Leonardo visit uk.leonardo.com/apprenticeships

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