On 27 November 2019, the New Professional Forum (NPF) Annual Conference was successfully held in the Rolls-Royce Learning Development Centre in Derby. 120 people from over 20 companies attended to hear about the future of civil aviation and the need for new professionals to drive the industry forward.

The NPF is a group available to all ADS members aiming to promote networking and development for professionals new to the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors. The forum runs events throughout the year to inform young professionals of the challenges at the forefront of the industry, culminating in the annual conference.

The annual conference gave the opportunity for the latest cohort of new professionals from a range of companies including Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, MBDA and BMT to find out more about the NPF, alongside a number of informative presentations on the central topic of the Future of Civil Aviation.

The chair of the NPF, Kyle van der Merwe (BMT), opened the event, welcoming everyone and giving a brief overview of the NPF before passing straight over to Paul Stein (Rolls-Royce). His presentation on ‘The Future of Safe, Competitive and Clean Power’ was the highlight of the day, he gave an honest overview of the challenges being faced in the industry by climate change. The direction of technical advancement in areas such as electrification, Hydrogen as a fuel and drop-in fuels (synthetic fuels with the same chemical composition as current jet fuel) gave a very good outlook on the direction of industry for many years to come.

Rohan Nanda (Airbus) next gave a fascinating overview into the role of models and statistics in predicting the future of civil aerospace, vital in ensuring the right people, skills and facilities are available to deliver the future capabilities. The talk gave all those in attendance a perspective of the scale of effort required to match the expected growth in the industry.

Following on from the presentations around the aircraft of the future, Dr Henrik Rothe (Cranfield University) gave insight in to airports and air traffic control design, an area often overlooked when considering the industry. The presentation summarised some of the work underway at Cranfield University, giving a glimpse into the level of detail required when designing airports and terminals, as well as the impressive facilities at Cranfield.

The event was brought to a close by Sameer Savani (ADS), briefing the audience on ADS and the Technology Trends in Aerospace. The focus was on the skills required in the aerospace industry to meet the increasing demands of customers, combined with the technological advancements needed for decarbonisation of the industry to address Climate Change. The talk gave everyone attending the understanding of opportunities within the industry for motivated and gifted young people.

Alongside the fascinating presentations, a number of other activities were held, including tours of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Site, the opportunity to talk to a number of Rolls-Royce Mentors and various networking opportunities.

The event was run in Rolls-Royce’s impressive Learning Development Centre in Derby, and a great deal of thanks must go to the organisers at Rolls-Royce for the smooth running of the event and kind hospitality. Planning is already underway for next year’s NPF events which will focus on various key topics for the future of our industries, so watch this space!

The ADS New Professional Forum is an ADS group open to all members aiming to promote networking and collaboration in young professionals new to our industries.

If you’d like to find out more, please contact Simon Levy.