Leonardo: Skills, Tech & The Future of Wireless


There is a massive shortage of engineers. Every graduate in my year working at Leonardo has been assigned a school to work with, to set them inspiring tasks.


Leonardo has been operating in Basildon, South Essex, since 1952 when its forerunner, Marconi, built the facility due to the pool of highly skilled engineers and researchers available in the region.

Over the past 65 years, the facility has produced several world firsts including the Marconi TICM (the UK’s first military standard production thermal imager) and the Phoenix unmanned military surveillance vehicle.

Today, the Basildon site is home to nearly 1,000 people who are involved in the design and development of thermal imaging systemsradar systemsradio communicationsinfrared detectionsignal processing and network systems.

Richard Freeman talks to Alex Wilcox, a graduate engineer who works on a range of infrared imaging projects. They talk about the role of companies like Leonardo in the development of new technologies; skills and apprenticeships; and the impact of Covid-19 on engineering and manufacturing in Essex.



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Essex 2020 is an Essex Partners initiative.

This is an always possible podcast.

The interviewer was Richard Freeman for always possible and the producer was Chris Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts.