In the past, it has often been necessary for engineers who grew up in the North East to move away from home to access engineering roles in advanced technology.
Aerospace engineering company Leonardo wants to change all of that.
The company has opened its latest UK site within the Helix innovation district in the heart of Newcastle, where they are offering a wide range of stimulating and well-remunerated systems, software and electronics engineering roles, working on some of the UK's most cutting-edge defence and security projects.
These include programmes to deliver the new radar for the RAF Typhoon aircraft, infrared countermeasures that protect aircraft across the globe, helicopters and surveillance radars for the Norwegian Search and Rescue service. The team will also be looking for talented engineers to work on the Global Combat Air Programme, an international collaboration between the UK, Japan and Italy to produce the next generation combat aircraft.
Michael Young, the new Technical Lead for Newcastle, grew up in Cramlington, 10 miles north of the city. He attended King’s School after attaining a scholarship before studying Electronic Engineering at Durham University. He is excited about what the opening of the new Leonardo site at the Helix could mean for engineers across Newcastle and the North East.
Michael explains why it feels so rewarding for him to be bringing these high quality and high demand roles back home.
”These new roles represent the first opportunity for engineers to work on our world-leading aerospace technology right in the heart of Newcastle. I think all engineers crave a challenge and you couldn’t wish for greater challenge than working on some of these programmes.
“In the past, I had to move away to gain engineering experience as the roles I wanted weren’t available at home. So I moved to Edinburgh and worked for Leonardo for 15 years in hardware, firmware and embedded software development and gained a strong understanding of electrical system design. I also learnt the engineering discipline and rigorous design processes required to support these complex developments.
“I came back to Newcastle a few years ago to work in the Oil and Gas and Industrial sectors but now I have returned to Leonardo and to a sector that is so stimulating. I find it incredibly exciting to get the opportunity to bring these roles home and give local talent the chance to gain access to technology that is endlessly absorbing and fascinating.”
Michael doesn’t want engineers to feel deterred from applying if they don’t have experience in the aerospace industry, as they can use skills they’ve acquired in other industries.
He said: “We offer a supportive and inclusive working environment where engineers will be coached on how they can apply their skills in these advanced programmes. Yes, they are challenging, but once you gain an understanding of the technology I find that everything just clicks into place and you are given the freedom to come up with new ideas for innovation.
“We find our best technology emerges when it has been nurtured by a diverse group of people, who all bring a fresh perspective.
In 2018 Leonardo UK came together with BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and MBDA as Team Tempest to forge the future of UK combat air technology. In December 2022, the endeavour went international with the announcement that the Tempest partners would support the development, in partnership with Japan and Italy, of a sixth generation fighter aircraft under the new Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP). The new fighter is expected to go into service with the RAF in 2035.
Ross Wilson, VP Engineering, has been instrumental in developing technology for GCAP. He studied electronic engineering at the University of Newcastle, then went straight from there to BAE Systems’ electronics division in Milton Keynes, before moving to Leonardo in Edinburgh.
His career progressed rapidly as he drove forward the development of the radar for the RAF Typhoon and as the years progressed, he grew increasingly fascinated by all aspects of radar development. This included the sense of fulfilment he gained from getting his designs into production and support phases, as well as many research and development activities.
Speaking about the new roles in Newcastle, Ross said: Engineers with a wide range of experience across the North East have the chance to work on really exciting technology. We are doing something unique and, knowing where the equipment we develop is in use, we are helping to protect our nations.
“Over a span of 20 years, my career has taken in all aspects of design and development taking control of the full lifecycle and I have worked across all of the various engineering functions — hardware initially, then software, systems, integration and trials. I am delighted that engineers can now develop incredibly rewarding and stimulating careers here in Newcastle.”
Follow us on our social media platforms and visit our Leonardo website to find out about our forthcoming events in particular our official opening of the site on Thursday 19th October 2023 and the opportunities we have available
Careers at Leonardo can be found here