From Small Boats to Aircraft Carriers, Meet BAE System’s Daisy Leslie #NAW

The UK’s Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries are at the forefront of providing high quality training and development. Companies in these sectors provide thousands of apprenticeships every year, offering routes into exciting and high-tech, high-skill, high-wage careers. These apprentices make a valuable contribution to manufacturing, with many of them working on world-leading technologies. That’s why we’re featuring some of them throughout National Apprenticeship Week.

Daisy Leslie, Project Management Apprentice, BAE Systems

Daisy, 24, had always been interested in both defence and maritime engineering however she almost followed a different career path when she completed an Art foundation year and started a degree in Architecture. But after graduation she realised that she was much more interested in project management.

Growing up in Portsmouth, Daisy was familiar with BAE Systems so she decided to take on a degree apprenticeship in Project Management with the company in September 2016.

Daisy’s first placement was in small boats which gave her the experience of project managing a number of programmes at once. She then made a case to her managers to let her work on the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier programme before joining the project in 2017.

“It was a great feeling to get to work on such a high-profile programme,” she said. “My favourite moment was HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first entry into Portsmouth.

“It was amazing to see the huge numbers of people who came to see her – it felt really special. Getting to work on board the ship was also very cool. The sheer size of the aircraft carrier is enormous.”

Daisy’s role on the carrier programme involved project cost control – which made her responsible for monthly reporting and forecasting on finances – as well as supporting an employee feedback initiative known as Learning From Experience (LFE).

She explained that she would receive regular updates from employees at all levels, right up to the Managing Director, at each stage of the project. Daisy and the other project managers would then ensure these learnings were taken on board to help the carrier team to hit their targets.

Daisy has now started a new strategic role across the whole of BAE Systems Maritime Services to help ensure planning is aligned across the business.

Passionate about encouraging young women into STEM, she’s a BAE Systems ambassador at external events and school visits as well as taking part in the role model scheme People Like Me. She also mentors school children who are interested in engineering through a school outreach programme.

Read about other apprentices in our sectors – updated throughout National Apprenticeship Week.