Leonardo is utilising stakeholder engagement and creating partnerships across the supply chain to encourage diversity and open up opportunities to communities across the UK.

Director, Government Affairs in the UK, Clive Higgins said the company was at the “forefront” of engagement with the stakeholder community. “What we’re trying to do through the Women in Defence Charter, Women in Aviation, the STEM activities that we do is really open the opportunities and defence up to a broader community,” he said.

“We’ve got a vibrant diversity inclusion programme through what we call the ‘People Inclusion Committee’ at Leonardo that is really trying to engage with, not only our employee communities, but across the sectors to try and help bring people into defence into aerospace, into science and technology and really make a difference and really bring an opportunity for people that might not have considered it in the past, to come and see what we’re offering, come and see what we’re doing.”

Opportunity to “grow a career and a future”

He added: “Programmes such as the new medium helicopter … really do demonstrate an opportunity for people to come into an industry that they might not have considered and to really grow a career and future with a really innovative inspirational environment.”

With the aerospace and defence industries currently working to tackle the skills shortage, Higgins described how Leonardo was planning to close the gap.

He said: “It’s a real big challenge. Defence has worked with with STEM as an ambition for many, many years. I think, what we’re seeing now, is a shift in government policy which is really welcomed by us through the Integrated Review defence command paper, but also some of the policies around science and technology where the investments are going in to prime the pump and that’s allowing innovators, like ourselves, to really start to target the innovative technology for the future that’s going attract school leavers as they move through their careers. There’s a huge amount coming but the government ambition there is really a catalyst for that to happen and then that joint investment that we can bring in is really going to support it as well.”

“Commitment to UK prosperity”

As well as working with BAE Systems and other partners on the Tempest project, Leonardo is working with SMEs to ensure the economic impact of major projects is felt across the UK. Higgins said Leonardo supported around 26,000 jobs in the UK from its activities which included SMEs “the length and breadth of the UK” from Scotland to both the south east and south west.

The company is also working on supply chain resilience during the post-Covid recovery period, as well as supporting skills development. He added this was “a real demonstration of that commitment to UK prosperity and also, how we can ensure that those innovators of the future can grow as well in the UK ecosystem.”

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