The ADS New Professionals Forum hosted its first in-person annual conference since the pandemic, and it was fantastic to have more than 100 new professionals gathered at the Airbus Defence and Space site in Stevenage.

The conference was entitled ‘Navigating your career in a rapidly changing industry’ and was designed by the current New Professionals Committee to resonate with those new to the aerospace, defence, security, and space sectors.

There were keynotes from several industry speakers including ADS Chief Strategy Officer, John Copley, Senior Economist, Aimie Stone, Head of Capability Engagement – Security and Resilience Sector, Helen Almey, and Airbus Defence and Space Engineering Manager, ExoMars Rover Vehicle Project, Paul Meacham. The industry speakers shared insights from their career paths, tips for networking and advice for someone who might be new to the four ADS sectors.

To enable the sharing of different perspectives around challenges, there was a panel session consisting of new professionals from Airbus Defence and Space, Atkins, BAE Systems, and the British Aviation Group Next Generation Group.

To end the morning, the group of 100-strong new professionals from 18 different companies and four early careers networks split into small groups to discuss the following topics:

  • Best practice for retention
  • Today’s office culture
  • Best practice for recruitment
  • Promotion pathways and networking
  • Skills, training, and development
  • Inclusivity and social value

Perhaps most interestingly all new professionals valued transparency and honesty from an organisation, for example, transparency around pay progression and career development opportunities. In addition, all new professionals noted the importance of feeling valued and of making our workplace cultures as inclusive as possible through several diversity and inclusion initiatives.

The day ended with a fantastic site tour around the Airbus Defence and Space facilities, and the energy in the room was fantastic!

How can you get involved?

We encourage all ADS Members to direct their new professionals to our New Professionals Form (NPF). The network continues to grow and is a great place for individuals to make connections, network and learn from others. Follow the group’s activity on LinkedIn.