Celebrating and growing the Leidos UK Graduate Apprentice Programme
The UK apprentice programme is a growing competence for our talent development efforts and we are doubling our commitment in 2019. In this post, Tracy Greenfield, Vice President of Human Resources for Leidos UK, speaks to a number of our employees about their roles in the programme.
Leidos aims to attract and retain professionals whose own ambitions align with ours – to strive and make a significant impact, performing work that it is important to the world we live in. At Leidos, we provide a flexible and dynamic working culture offering meaningful and engaging careers.
The UK HR team is creating an end-to-end early careers programme with apprenticeships at the core. Our apprentice programme has been enormously successful and we are rolling this out to more UK locations and to more clients. Our teams and clients want to engage with emerging and creative talent and new innovation, while at the same time relying on Leidos to deliver the most mission critical transformation technology science and engineering programmes.
A real driver in Leidos’ future growth are our early careers programmes and apprenticeships with on-the-job training lasting up to four years, blending practical placements with academic learning. Leidos has been recruiting and training apprentices in Scotland for many years and in 2017 launched a Graduate Apprenticeship Programme by partnering with leading UK universities.
The Programme runs for four years with apprentices attending university one day per week and then working with Leidos project teams in our offices for the remaining days. In 2019, Leidos is recruiting apprentices across a number of disciplines: software development, cybersecurity, network infrastructure, service management, and project management.
We offer a competitive salary, a great culture, a dynamic working environment, team spirit, and strong values with early career progression as they graduate with a full BSc Hons [Bachelor of Science honours degree] from one of our partner universities. Leidos has formally partnered with The University of Glasgow, Strathclyde University, Napier University, and Solent University
We recognise that every apprentice is unique and we work with each to identify the best institution, course and team for them.
Read below as Cameron Rooney and Vicky McArthur share their highlights and experiences as apprentices working for Leidos UK, while their manager Colin Jack explains what we look for in candidates.
Cameron Rooney, second-year apprentice and software developer
"I was at college before I joined Leidos, but it just wasn’t for me. On leaving secondary school, I went to college to study software development with the intention of going to university. After just over a year at college, the terms, though short, became repetitive. The prospect of facing the same rigidity and routine over three more years in lectures at university was off-putting.
"I wanted to work on issues that impacted the real world; I wanted a practical side to my learning. I recognise that a high-quality education will improve my future employability and so attending university alongside an active role in industry represents a perfect blend. I retain the benefits of a university lifestyle and resources – the social scene and gym, for example – while gaining valuable and applicable work experience."
What advice can you give to people considering an apprenticeship role at Leidos?
"You need to be able to identify your own strengths and areas for development and to have the confidence to ask for support through mentoring and coaching. Asking questions and pushing yourself are the key to progressing as an apprentice; exploring new ideas and working with a team is great. Continuous improvement and learning is key. I am still learning and developing in my role. Sharing ideas and problem-solving with your teammates is a great way to learn and build your knowledge. We are all here to learn so asking questions, getting involved in discussions and being part of the team is hugely beneficial to your learning experience with Leidos."
Vickie McArthur, first year business management apprentice
"I suppose my story is a little less traditional than a ‘typical’ apprentice – I joined Leidos in my late 20s as a business management apprentice. I would not have been able to go through full-time education myself and I was worried that the lack of a formal tertiary qualification may have held me back in some ways. Fortunately for me, the Leidos apprenticeship has provided me with the opportunity to bridge the gap. I now feel confident that I can build a career, with no glass ceiling, in the world of technology, equipped with the experience and expertise I need."
What does it take to excel as an apprentice?
"I think to excel as an apprentice, it’s all about listening and learning, take advantage of all opportunities presented to you. One of the great things about apprenticeships is the experiences and knowledge you will learn throughout. You are surrounded by experts in their fields with so much knowledge and advice, so make sure you take it all on board. An important thing to think about is your attitude towards work. If you are passionate and keen to learn about the industry, then all other skills will follow."
Colin Jack, software development team lead and apprentice manager
"We hired our first apprentice in 2013. We thought he might be lonely but needn’t have worried. He questioned things, added a fresh perspective and we learned a lot from him.
All of our apprentices earn well-paid salaries on our four-year programme and study for undergraduate degrees from universities such as The University of Glasgow and Strathclyde. We are actively involved in helping shape the courses to ensure that there is a win-win-win situation for employer, student, and institution. We now have one client where close to half of the current workforce is made up of apprentices or former apprentices."
What do you look for in apprentices?
"When hiring apprentices, we are looking for hardworking problem solvers that are eager to learn. We are keen to take on a diverse range of apprentices with different experiences and backgrounds and work with each individual to find the right team and course for them. By partnering with top universities that are taking different approaches to graduate apprenticeships, we are able to tailor our scheme to individuals and avoid a one size fits all model.
Our apprentices can join from school, college, or as career changers, but each of them offers our team a unique perspective on their work. Many apprentices join us with little or no experience and, as such, question everything. Answering questions gives our coaches and team members an opportunity to reflect on their own understanding and spot opportunities to improve our work and make it easier to follow. Many of our mentors and coaches, myself included, rate working with apprentices as one of the best things that they have had an opportunity to do in their careers."
To find out more about the Leidos UK Graduate Apprentice Programme, please get in touch with our Early Careers Talent Leader, Jacqueline Adams.