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  1. Spotlight
4 March 2019updated 27 Jul 2021 6:58am

How apprentices bring together the best of both worlds

Leidos employees and apprentices reflect on the opportunities of a lifetime. 

By Leidos

Leidos is a Fortune 500 information technology, engineering, science solutions and services leader, aiming to tackle some of the world’s toughest, enduring challenges in the civil, health, defence and intelligence markets.

The company has 32,000 employees worldwide, supporting vital missions for government and commercial customers. In the UK alone, Leidos has more than 1,200 employees servicing clients such as the Home Office, The Ministry of Defence and the Scottish government.

A real driver in Leidos’s growth is its wealth of apprenticeships – on-the-job training programmes lasting up to four years, blending practical placements with academic tuition. Here, members of Leidos’s staff have shared their thoughts on the benefits of this attractive earn-while-you-learn approach to developing personnel…

Tracy Greenfield, VP for human resources, Leidos

“Leidos aims to attract and retain professionals whose own ambitions align with ours – to strive to make a significant impact and perform 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. Indeed, a supportive, collaborative approach ultimately leads to a healthy work-life balance. 

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“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 staff and clients want to engage with emerging and creative talent and ideas, while at the same time relying on Leidos to deliver the most mission critical transformation programmes.”

Colin Jack, software development team lead and apprentice manager, Leidos

“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 that.

“All of our apprentices earn well-paid salaries on our four-year programme and study for undergraduate degrees from universities such as Edinburgh Napier 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.” 

Cameron Rooney, second-year apprentice software developer

“I was at college before 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 affected 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.”

Vickie McArthur, business management apprentice

“I suppose my story is a little less traditional – 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 was worried that the lack of a formal tertiary qualification may have held me back in some ways. Fortunately, 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.”