Industrial Cadet Abike receives top award from HRH The Prince of Wales

Abike Looi-Somoye receives the Industrial Cadet of the Year Award from HRH The Prince of Wales


A young engineer studying at the University of Leicester has been presented with a national award by HRH The Prince of Wales at the annual Industrial Cadet Awards event in London.

Abike Looi- Somoye received the ‘Industrial Cadet of the Year Award’ from His Royal Highness in recognition of the excellence of her work at Rolls-Royce on a ‘Year in Industry’ placement, a year out from her BEng Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leicester. The Industrial Cadet of the Year Award was sponsored by AkzoNobel and the headline sponsor for the event was the GFG Foundation.

Abike worked as part of a team tasked with spreading understanding and uptake of lean operations within Rolls-Royce. She quickly demonstrated a drive to deliver high quality results, so was asked to take on a wide range of activities. Normally the “Year in Industry” experience would be awarded at Industrial Cadet Gold level but Abike’s ability and commitment at Rolls-Royce led to her becoming the first person in the country to be awarded a Platinum Level Industrial Cadet Award, reflecting the extent to which she exceeded expectations for her placement.

Sally Twisleton, Head of Engineering Quality at Rolls-Royce says,

Abike’s performance was outstanding. She worked with proactivity, initiative and commitment to deliver tasks above and beyond expectations.

Her organisation, creativity and interpersonal skills are strong, enabling her to successfully take on a wide range of activities. She showed high leadership potential; managing a wide range of stakeholders including senior leaders.

Not only delivering objectives, she supported several STEM events, highlighting commitment to promoting opportunities in this field. Abike’s passion for learning and development meant she really made the most of her placement.

She acted with professionalism, maturity and enthusiasm and was a real asset to the organisation.”

Industrial Cadets is an accreditation for young peoples’ experiences of industry in science, technology, engineering and maths. The idea for the Industrial Cadet accreditation was originally seeded in a conversation about providing effective experiences of work and industry between HRH The Prince of Wales and executives of the Tata Group in 2010. Since that time His Royal Highness has taken a keen interest in the establishment of Industrial Cadets as a national accreditation and its recent rapid expansion.

Abike is also delighted to have been offered a place on a Rolls-Royce graduate programme. She says,

As well as developing hard skills and interpersonal skills, my time at Rolls-Royce showed me the importance of expanding your network; every person I met had a wealth of knowledge and experience, and effectively collaborating with them was truly the key to success throughout my year.

“The Industrial Cadets process improved my self-awareness, reflecting on my performance so that I could be my best every day. The leadership award, in particular, helped me realise the importance of outreach and being a positive role model. As a judge at the Go-4-Set competition, I saw the children’s genuine passion in STEM subjects, and saw how my words and actions can be influential – I look forward to developing these skills in my role as a university peer mentor and in the future in industry.

“My placement helped me realise what I truly value in a workplace, and so it became clear to me that Rolls-Royce is where I want to start my career. I am pleased to announce my return in September where I will begin the Operations Management graduate programme – I am so excited to start my career at Rolls-Royce!

EDT, the charity that co-ordinates Industrial Cadets is a supporter of the Year in Engineering, the national campaign to increase awareness and understanding of what engineers do among young people aged 7-16, their parents and their teachers.