We interviewed our MD to find out how he started his career in Defence and his reflections since, read on to find out more...
When and why did you first start thinking about working in Defence?
When I graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree, defence was the first domain to come back with a job offer. The early experience was an eye-opener; in week 2 of this 1st job, I was on a Ro-Ro ferry in a Liverpool Shipyard performing time and motion study on the welders installing mine-laying rails onto the car decks – they were very vocal on what I could do with my clipboard which was an interesting welcome to the shop-floor.
What personally motivates you to work in Defence?
Over the years I have come to appreciate that defence develops cutting-edge equipment using advanced management processes and in general these are at the forefront of current thinking. I have lived through several initiatives to modernise defence by introducing “Best-Practice” from what are considered more commercial domains or overseas leading practitioners. I watch with interest as these domains propose transformations which stutter when they get to the implementation phase and realise that the management methods already utilised had evolved from the latest practices.
What professional/personal development steps did you take to give yourself the best chance of working in the Sector?
Several years into my career I made the conscious decision to move away from a production-based career and move into the advisory side of defence. I facilitated this through a move into MOD from Marconi to undertake an MBA which has led to the subsequent consultancy roles.
What/who inspired you in the work that you now do?
I am motivated by progressing real things – not just paper – the client is similarly focused on achieving real deliverables.
How does the sector falls short of your expectations?
For any real conflict we are dependent on diplomacy and alignment with allies which takes any solution well beyond the defence sector alone.
How does working in Defence benefit you?
The day to day work is continually challenging and keeps the mind active.
What are the Challenges of working in Defence?
Timescale is the usual challenge – working on the early stages of the aircraft carrier programme – it was over 15 years before the vessel entered service.
What do you like/dislike about being a consultant?
In the main clients will only pay for your work if they believe it is adding value – this is not true for a lot of other careers.
If you could change one thing about the Sector, what would it be?
Perceptions of the industry yo-yo – we are probably at a valued high at the moment but there have been periods of anti-defence protests which in my view are short sighted – increased PR for defence is required to promote the benefits.