Defense and security group Leonardo is opening a new base in Newcastle Helix

Located in the Spark development area, Leonardo Newcastle will focus on the research, development and prototyping of Leonardo’s next generation sensor, safety and vertical lift products, many of which will incorporate breakthrough digital and data technologies.

Clive Higgins, Chairman and CEO of Leonardo UK, said: “What sets Leonardo apart from many other global companies with a presence in the UK is the research, engineering and advanced manufacturing that Leonardo carries out on land in the UK.” By opening this new Based in Newcastle, we can now recruit regional talent from the North East to work on some of the UK’s most exciting and cutting-edge technology projects.

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“We are here for the long haul and want to build strong community bonds in Newcastle that match those that Leonardo has built at our other sites in the UK.”

Leonardo continues to recruit from Newcastle and across the North East. The site will employ at least 200 people and the company aims to grow beyond this in the future. In addition to recruiting highly qualified employees, Leonardo will also invest in upskilling and training employees in the latest digital engineering practices so that they are well prepared for the fourth industrial revolution.

Best known for its onshore production of British military helicopters and the state-of-the-art electronics onboard Royal Air Force aircraft, Leonardo employs 8,500 people in the UK and is one of the UK Ministry of Defence’s largest suppliers.

The company is at the heart of the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP), the UK, Italy and Japan initiative to produce a new 6th generation fighter aircraft scheduled to enter service in 2035, and has been trusted in its cybersecurity business for decades to protect the country’s most sensitive information.

In Newcastle, as well as delivering for its customers, Leonardo plans to engage with regional SMEs, charities, social mobility schemes, schools and colleges, replicating the approach in other UK cities, from Yeovil in the south west to Edinburgh Scotland.

Rt Hon Justine Greening, Chair of the Purpose Coalition, said: “Engineering is an industry with one of the lowest levels of gender diversity and social mobility, but Leonardo is a fantastic example of how a company is making change within its own organizations and the industry can advance the communities they serve.

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“By investing in Newcastle, Leonardo is bringing high-quality jobs and skills to one of the UK’s least advantaged areas, providing opportunities at all levels. In return, the company will gain access to a pipeline of diverse talent that will enable it to continue to innovate, grow and build for the future.”

Leonardo is a founding member of the newly formed North East Regional Defense and Security Cluster (NERDSC), which aims to drive further investment in the region and support local companies to secure defense and security contracts.

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Jennifer Hartley, director of Invest Newcastle, part of the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, said: “The opening of Leonardo’s research and technology base in Newcastle is a significant milestone in an important strategic investment for the North East of England. Following the launch of NERDSC, we look forward to working closely with Leonardo to grow the region’s defense and aerospace sectors and provide valuable new opportunities for our residents.”

In addition, Leonardo continues to expand the number of entry opportunities across its UK locations, in large part due to the company’s core position in the GCAP project. Leonardo will hire an additional 300 apprentices, interns and graduate programs in 2023, bringing the total number of young people in early career programs to 900.


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