Leonardo: Ben started his apprenticeship with Leonardo during the pandemic in 2020

Leonardo: Ben started his apprenticeship with Leonardo during the pandemic in 2020

Ben started his apprenticeship with Leonardo during the pandemic in 2020 and he believes the inclusive environment helped him on his apprenticeship journey

At Leonardo, our commitment to our people, and to being an inclusive and diverse organisation, ensures everyone who steps through our doors feels included and supported. By understanding our people and what they need better, we continually work to remove barriers that people can experience when they come to work.

One such employee who has found Leonardo’s inclusive environment to be positive to his career is Ben, who took up an apprenticeship with Leonardo in September 2020, but was recruited at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020.

“From the start of my apprenticeship, I have valued the support and supervision provided by my apprentice training officers,” says Ben. “They have provided pastoral and practical help, and organised meetings and site visits to facilitate my introduction to the company. Without someone in this role, I am certain that starting my apprenticeship and moving from college to the workplace would have been more difficult.”


How did your neuro-diverse condition impact your experience joining Leonardo? 

“When I applied for an apprenticeship with Leonardo, I noted that the company had joined the Disability Confident scheme and this influenced my decision to apply.

“Due to my condition (ASD), tasks such as travelling to new places, entering unfamiliar sites and buildings, and interacting with new people can be difficult for me. Coping with these challenges alongside a demanding activity, such as a job interview, can leave me feeling overwhelmed and unable to perform at my best.

“When my application was successful, I was pleased to be offered an interview, but apprehensive about the interview process. Having attended apprenticeship assessments elsewhere, I anticipated that it would be long process and incorporate more than a standalone job interview.

“As the pandemic reached the UK, I was relieved when the assessment day was cancelled but excited to hear it would replaced by Webex interviews. I attribute part of my interview success to this change, because it removed the potential for the sensory and cognitive problems that I can experience in unfamiliar surroundings. On the day of my interview, I was able to focus on interacting with the panel and present information and answers I had prepared without being distracted by the symptoms of my condition.”


Specific to your neuro-diverse condition, what support have you received from Leonardo whilst on your apprenticeship programme and in your academic studies?

“Over the course of my first year, I have disclosed and discussed my condition with managers and other people within the company. On all occasions, these conversations have been helpful and supportive.

“When I completed full-time training at SETA (Southampton Engineering Training Association), my training officer at Leonardo liaised with my placement manager to help prepare me for my first placement at the Southampton site. I had online meetings with my placement manager and others, followed by a short visit to site the week before my placement began. These preparations improved my confidence and allowed me to develop some familiarity with the workplace and the people on site.

“My placement induction was conducted one-on-one with my placement manager, which worked very well for me. I shadowed him for a full day, toured the site, and was introduced to colleagues in various departments. Since then, I have been working from home with occasional visits to site. I am grateful for this flexibility and I feel that this has made the transition from college to working within Leonardo more manageable.”


What would you say to other students with neuro-diverse conditions, considering Leonardo for a job?

“I would encourage other neuro-diverse people to apply for a job at Leonardo. Initially, I was attracted purely by the opportunity to develop skills in a variety of engineering disciplines and the career prospects offered by an engineering apprenticeship. Now that I have spent time inside the company, I feel I have also benefited from its positive attitude towards neuro-diverse people.

“I have felt able to speak openly about my condition, and when I have encountered difficulties relating to my neuro-diversity, my training officers have offered solutions and implemented them. I am optimistic that I will be able to complete my apprenticeship and I hope that I can go on to develop a career within the company.”


To find out more about apprenticeships at Leonardo, visit uk.leonardocompany.com/en/people-careers/apprenticeships