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"Meet Andrew Simpkins. He joined Leonardo as a graduate to utilise his problem-solving skills whilst working with the latest cutting-edge technology, and has since been involved in a range of major projects."
I am an engineer and when I left school I wanted to work for a company where I could utilise my problem-solving skills whilst working with the latest cutting-edge technology. The projects I’ve been involved with have enabled me to attain Chartered Engineer status (a personal ambition) and make a real difference to our Armed Forces.
I graduated from the University of Nottingham (BEng Electronic Engineering with German) and then Cranfield University (MSc by Research) before I joined Leonardo on the Graduate Scheme as a Systems Engineer. I have managed a number of projects and progressed to Principal Systems Engineer. As part of my continued development, I’m currently undertaking a secondment to the Senior Vice President (SVP) Electronic Warfare in the role of Business Support Manger. In this role, I’m operating in a similar manner to that of a Chief of Staff, working on behalf of the SVP on several Special Projects. In this role, I’m able to enhance my understanding of a wide range of projects across the business, developing my ‘business awareness’ skills to complement my engineering, before my return to a main engineering role.
In my role as Business Support Manager, there is no such thing as a typical week; the scope and size of activities varies depending on the business priorities. That is what makes the role interesting as no two weeks are the same.
The variety and breadth of work is the thing I enjoy most about my role. I’m fortunate to work with a wide range of colleagues (from the Managing Director to apprentices and graduates) throughout the day. As part of my role, I can go from different meetings where we may be developing forward-looking strategies for the company and understanding complex technical issues, to planning and hosting VIP visits.
My greatest achievement has been developing and performing ‘Acceptance Testing’ for one of our products for a customer in the USA. At the time I was not long out of the Graduate Scheme and the company trusted me with the responsibility to perform this task. Working at the customer premises in the USA, delivering this activity as the sole representative from the UK, was a challenging yet thoroughly rewarding experience.
Taking my experiences from my current role in the ‘business’ side of the company, I’ll be returning to my engineering role to use my knowledge to lead engineering teams and hopefully one day become a Chief Engineer.