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Thales apprentices at the Heart of a Multi-billion Contract Media Event

A Mission Unlike Any Other

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to work on some of the most advanced naval technologies in the world. You must then get through military guards to climb aboard a Royal Navy warship, meet the Government’s Secretary of State for Defence, before stepping out to be interviewed on camera with a pack of broadcast media…..

Real-Life Heroes, Not Just On-screen 

A day in the life of Tom Cruise or Daniel Craig? No, just in the week in the lives of four Thales apprentices from Templecombe who suddenly found themselves playing in a key role in the announcement of the biggest contract for Thales in the UK. Not a bad way to kick off National Apprentice Week.

In the Spotlight: Thales' Future Innovators

Mia Pitman, Ellis McCullagh, Evan Lovell and James McIntosh were asked to support the UK Ministry of Defence announcement in Devonport, where Thales was awarded a massive £1.8 billion, 15 years contract for the Maritime Sensor Enhancement Team (MSET) to deliver game-changing technologies and support to keep ships and submarines at sea for longer.

The Backbone of Naval Defense 

The Maritime Sensor Enhancement Team (MSET) contract will directly support the Royal Navy’s eyes and ears – sonar, electronic warfare and optronic/periscope technology for the next 15 years.

Aboard HMS Somerset: A Stage for Innovation 

The ship chosen for the event was HMS Somerset, a type 23 frigate and one of the most formidable anti-submarine warfare warships in the world. Fitted with Sonar 2087 from Templecombe and electronic warfare and communications systems from Crawley, the ship is designed to track down enemy submarines.

Leadership and Learning: A Unique Intersection 

The Rt Hon Grant Shapps, UK Defence Secretary was going to announce the contract on the bridge of Somerset as communication teams from the MOD, Royal Navy and Thales made their plans with invited media. Key to that was a certain four Templecombe apprentices who were about to be taken out of their comfort zone.

Behind the Scenes with Thales' Apprentices

Matt Bliss, the MSET Programme Director, travelled with them down to Plymouth and takes up the story. He said: “We knew it was going to be a big announcement and there was an ambition to have Thales apprentices there to show the strength and breadth of the Thales team.

A Showcase of Commitment and Flexibility

“With a long-term contract and a shortage of STEM resources, it’s essential that we develop our own staff. Opportunities like this don’t happen in many lifetimes! I can’t emphasise how flexible Mia, Ellis, Evan and James were in their ambition to support the event. They moved everything from college, work commitments and holiday at short notice.

The Spotlight Moment

After making the announcement and being interviewed by the media, Mr Shapps was introduced to the four who stepped onto the bridge for a photocall in front of cameras from the BBC, ITV and BFBS.

Ambassadors of Thales' Future

Matt added: “The Defence Secretary was amazing, he really engaged with all four about their career choices, how they were managing their studies and work. He was really interested in their experiences as apprentices.

A Natural Talent for Leadership

“After that, all the journalists wanted to interview them all – they were literally going from camera to camera with the press wanting to know more about their careers. They were born naturals, calm and very articulate. They were just fantastic ambassadors for Thales for the whole event.”