Blog written by James Wisbey, a Politics, Philosophy and Economics student at the University of York who joined ADS Head of Policy, Nathan Mathiot for a week of work experience.


Hi, my name is James Wisbey and after finishing my first year at the University of York studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics, I was fortunate enough to spend a week at ADS Group. ADS is a non-profit trade association with more than 1200 members supporting the aerospace, defence, security and space industries. These members vary greatly in size, from huge companies such as BAE Systems, to tiny startups, classified as small and medium enterprises (SMEs). My time at ADS saw me travel around the country, learn new things about the industry and meet a plethora of great people!

What I got up to:

My time at ADS consisted of three days at the London office, one day at the Farnborough office and one day of remote working, so a modern hybrid working scheme.

Monday: My first day started with an introduction to the London office and the team, with a meeting regarding an event being we were holding in parliament. In the afternoon I sat in on a meeting organised by ADS with companies from the Advanced Air Mobility Special Interest Group as they spoke about the development of eVTOLs (electronically powered aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capabilities). In this meeting I witnessed first hand how a trade association engages with its members to ensure each member is informed of recent developments in the industry.

Tuesday: My day started by sitting in on a meeting with the PEPAM (Policy, Economics, Public affairs, Media and Marketing) team. This allowed me to see what each member of the team does and how they do so, and I got a sense of what the future holds for the team. The afternoon consisted of another meeting; this time with UKDSE (UK Defence and Security Exports), where ADS presented on opportunities of engagement for UKDSE staff, such as Farnborough International Airshow.

Wednesday: This day was focused around an event organised by ADS-the annual ADS Apprentices Reception in Parliament to celebrate and promote apprentices across the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors. We welcomed apprentices from more than 20 high-profile companies, who were able to meet and engage with their MPs. There was also a selection of speeches from inspiring individuals such as Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

Thursday: Day four saw the opportunity to work at the Farnborough office. The morning consisted of a team tour of the BAE Systems Heritage site, which allowed the ADS team to learn about one of their biggest members. I also got the opportunity to chat to Chief Executive of ADS, Kevin Craven, where I received valuable career advice. In the afternoon the team met with the UK Defence Solutions Centre, where we received a presentation on their role in the industry.

Friday: On my final day I worked remotely and had a teams meeting with HR on applying for jobs. I received valuable advice about how and where to apply along with how to successfully navigate an interview and strengthen my CV.

Final reflections:

Overall, I had a fantastic week and would like to express my gratitude to Nathan Mathiot and the rest of the ADS team for welcoming me into the company and providing a comprehensive insight into the aerospace and defence industries.