On Thursday 19 November the ADS New Professional’s Forum (NPF) held its annual conference, with this year’s theme being “How Tempest will be delivered by you”. The event hosted presentations and discussions on every element of the future of the UK’s combat air capability, from the technologies to the workforce. The event demonstrated the great potential of the UK’s new professionals to deliver on this challenging agenda.

The NPF is a forum for young professionals and those of all ages who are new to our sectors. The group aims to challenge traditional ways of working and thinking and contribute to how our businesses are working now and preparing for the future.

The focus of this year’s (digitally hosted) conference was about the UK’s future combat air capability, with a focus on the Team Tempest members and the MOD’s Future Combat Air System and Strategy (FCAS). Attendees heard presentations from a number of the industrial partners who described their motivations and goals for the programme, as well as how they built their career to where they are today. MOD colleagues also provided great insight by placing FCAS in the international context.

A particular highlight of the day was the panel on career development and how new professionals should approach their own development and what they want to get out of working in our sectors. The session was packed with advice from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Inspiring, training and retaining the future workforce will be vitally important for the future of the UK’s combat air capability.

A key part of the ability of Defence (industry and government) to retain the right skills will be to provide the encouragement for the workforce to challenge traditional thinking and the freedom to pursue new ideas and concepts. Flexible working, the ability to work from home, more freedoms to move within a business or department, or secondments and placements are all mechanisms that can keep people interested in Defence and retain these much-needed skills.

You can sign up to the NPF here for access to the media from the event.