The first part of the visit included an introduction to the history of the company, insights into current projects that Leonardo are working on and a breakdown of the roles that they recruit for. Most of Leonardo's work is highly relevant to Engineering students, as electronic warfare covers radio signals, digital and analog hardware system design and Digital Signal Processing (DSP) which are studied on the course.
Students were given demonstrations of DSP applications before hearing from employees who had started on Leonardo’s graduate scheme. This way they got acquainted with what it was like to work for Leonardo and the type of projects one would be involved in. Students were also shown some of the laboratories that the engineers work within and different types of testing that upcoming technology was put through.
Recalling the experience, Jitendra Shah, student on the Electronic Engineering BEng Honours course, said: “It was quite an experience standing inside one of the specialised rooms which was designed to mimic an environment with minimal signal disturbances. It felt like something out a sci-fi movie!
“Soon after the visit I had an assignment for my course in which I was analysing a simulation of the type of signalling techniques that are used within the defence industry and it was rewarding to understand how this can apply outside of theory.”
Students were also able to interact with Brite Cloud, a disposable decoy system and the latest product Leonardo have developed. Speaking about it, Ben Skidmore, student on the Electronic Engineering BEng Honours course, said: “We were actually able to hold one of these products and see some very simple, high-level diagrams of how it worked, and getting hands-on is a great way to get excited about a potential job.”
“Visiting a bona fide engineering company like Leonardo helps give students a more three-dimensional view of what we can expect from the world of work, and how our subjects at university apply to real-life job roles. It is also a great opportunity to practise your skills of communication and networking, as well as how to present yourself, which are invaluable when applying for jobs and developing yourself professionally.”
Jitendra Shah also said: “If I had to choose one thing that I found beneficial to my studies and future employment, it would be the application and amalgamation of many different engineering techniques that we were taught. It is sometimes difficult to put together the ‘big picture’ but visits such as this one can really help in the transition from student to professional.”