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Apprentice and CEO trade places


My name is Joe Badham, I’m 21 years old and currently a 2nd Year Aeronautical Engineering Mechanical Maintenance Technician Apprentice for QinetiQ, based at MOD Boscombe Down.

Apprentice Joe Badham standing in front of windtunnel rotor

Over the course of the last few months I have been leading a team of nine enthusiastic apprentices in the 2017 Brathay Apprentice Challenge. This involves teams of apprentices from across the country competing with, and alongside, each other to raise the profile of apprenticeships among schools, colleges and employers.

One consideration that the team were keen to focus upon this year was the possibility of one of the team members completing a job swap with the CEO of QinetiQ, Steve Wadey. Due to the points criteria relating to the challenge a job swap with Steve would help the team to obtain a significant number of points; however the motives behind the swap went far deeper than a points achievement. In late December 2016 I contacted Steve directly to ask for his support throughout the challenge and to ask if he would be interested in completing a job swap, not only because of the great opportunity it presented to myself, but to my fellow apprentices who would accommodate Steve for a day as an apprentice.

Our days began at 8.30am and immediately I was introduced to members of the senior leadership team. Throughout the day I had the opportunity to attend a number of meetings and also got to visit the Farnborough Wind Tunnel. It was wonderful to be given the opportunity to explore the wider business in a way that previously has not been available. I met an awful lot of interesting and highly intelligent people who evidently possess a huge wealth of knowledge within their respective fields. Perhaps a key highlight was my involvement in a meeting relating to QinetiQ’s International business. This was purely due to the fact that I previously had very little knowledge of QinetiQ’s international ventures and it is certainly evident that there is far more happening in the wider business than I initially envisaged!

I know Steve also enjoyed a great day with the apprentices at MOD Boscombe Down. He started the day doing avionics fault finding and then finished off learning about hydraulic systems. Steve said: “I had a brilliant day with our young apprentices, they never fail to impress with their capability or confidence. Our future is bright!”

On a personal level the swap has given me an opportunity to get to know the faces within the business and undoubtedly will benefit my confidence massively. The whole event has been a great compliment to the QinetiQ apprentices on the whole, as it is clear that Steve trusts us and will happily take time out of his incredibly busy schedule to spend time with QinetiQ’s future engineers.

A fantastic experience and I would like to thank Steve and the rest of the team at QinetiQ Farnborough who helped to make the day as enjoyable as it has been.