This blog was written by Chiedza Lunga, Industry Secondee to ADS


The Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition was held from Tuesday 14 September to Friday 17 September 2021. It is a defence and security trade exhibition that serves as a forum between governments, national armed forces, industry and academia.

This provides defence stakeholders with the opportunity to network and showcase their latest products and ideas across aerospace, land, naval, security and joint domains. Within these domains there were specialist hubs to visit, such as the Space Hub and the Future Tech Hub that covered cyber security, AI, and developments in IT infrastructure.

My Experience

After months of virtual events, this in-person event was a new and an exciting experience for me as my whole career thus far has been in a pandemic world. It was my first time going to such a large professional event and I was understandably nervous about what I could gain being so new into my career in defence, but the week ended up being an invaluable time.

Walking around the stands and seeing tanks, helicopters, and models of all sorts of products was a lot for me to take in visually, but I loved it, especially when the friendly people on each stand would let me know some information about the interesting tech I was ogling. It was a great learning experience on what technologies the defence sector is currently working on as well as the future technology they hope to develop, making it a great event for engineering and business professionals alike.

There were a variety of receptions and networking events being held by ADS as well as certain companies that I was able to attend. I have never had the opportunity to speak with so many senior leaders of dozens of industry leading companies, and it was a great chance to ask about their career progression, interests and also explain my own skills.

There was also a range of webinars and talks running throughout the week that were open to attend. I particularly enjoyed the panel of speakers from Women in Defence that spoke about the need for more women in defence, their personal experiences, and what can be done to achieve the goal of 30% representation by 2030. They also unveiled their new strategy at the event and outlined their ambition of achieving a minimum of 30% female representation at all levels across the defence sector by 2030.

How to get involved in future events

If a chance to attend or get involved with DSEI is something of interest to you, there are ways in which you can make the most out of it and other similar events as a young professional.

With over 1,000 exhibitors showcasing throughout the week, your company may very well be sending some employees to the next DSEI in 2023. Be sure to enquire with your company’s business development or public affairs team to see if you can lend a hand during the week as there were many graduates and young professionals on the larger stands I visited. Other options can be simply attending on behalf of your company to take note of current developments within your sector and introduce yourself to some companies within the supply chain you work.


The main lesson I learnt from a new professional standpoint is that this event was really a crash course in networking. It is a good way to develop key soft skills that early career professionals may not have yet had experience with, as well as getting exposure to what the future may hold. Initiating conversations with the senior staff you meet at various stalls can make attending this event in future very useful for those wanting to learn how to progress their careers further.

The New Professionals Forum

The New Professionals Forum is an early-careers networking community for ADS member companies. Contact to find out more.