Looking to local talent - Airbus star rises from apprentice to manager

Luke Walsh, 25, from Stevenage, has worked his way up from an Airbus apprentice to a manager 

Luke Walsh, 25, from Stevenage, has worked his way up from an Airbus apprentice to a manager - Credit: Airbus

Supporting budding STEM minds of Stevenage and surrounding areas is something Airbus is no stranger to. 

From its collaboration with North Herts College to find its next science genius, to offering apprenticeships to young adults, the world-renowned space company has an abundance of local talent. 

One being 25-year-old Luke Walsh, who started an apprenticeship with Airbus aged 18, and has risen through the ranks to become a manager.

Luke grew up in Stevenage and attended Martins Wood and Nobel before taking on the apprenticeship at Airbus.

"I did a year of AS levels and decided it wasn't for me - I wanted to get out and work," he said.

"I was always a more hands on type of person and that's exactly what the craft apprenticeship allowed me to do and I was able to use and further develop those skills."

Luke's apprenticeship lasted three years, where he was taught the ropes of mechanical process, bonding, the electrical side of the process such as soldering, electrical wiring. 

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He was then offered a job in the mechanisms department, responsible for building two mechanisms, ADTM and SDAM - crucial to ensuring satellites are aligned correctly and solar panels are facing the sun at all times. 

Luke continued: "I was was able to work my way up very quickly. I started off as an area controller. From there I was seen as a technical expert electrically within the department.

"I was then made the trainer, so every apprentice and new technician that come through, I am the go-to person from training. 

"We now have a team from myself downwards who are all ex-apprentices. Because we've been through the scheme we're now able to lay out our training as we would have wanted it. 

"We're seen as one of the highest standard areas for apprentices to come through. 

"I moved up to senior technician very soon after that, then electrical lead technician - I've been now supporting acting team leader."

"Airbus has been brilliant in the last seven years, he said. "From the apprenticeship scheme, through to being a technician, into now my managerial role, I couldn't have asked for more in terms of the training I was provided, courses I've been on and support I've had from everyone I've worked with."