On 21 November 2017, over 125 people from more than 40 organisations came to MBDA Stevenage for the 2nd NPF event with a theme of Innovation in Aerospace and Defence. The afternoon was offering educational seminars, simulator demonstrations, marketplace stalls, workshops, networking opportunities and personal mentoring.

Sir Brian Burridge, Chairman of the UK Defence Solutions Centre (UK DSC) and former Chief of the Air Staff (RAF), kicked off proceedings with an insight into the developments of the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) and what it will mean for people joining the wider community going forward. Sir Brian concluded by highlighting the future of industry is in the hands of people in the room and those like them. The DGP will be shortly launching a new Masters Degree tailored to support people that lead on the export of products around the world.

After an overview from Jade Anderson and Michael Petley on MBDA and what it is like as a place to work, Dr Victoria Ingamells and Vanisha Harani from the Weapons Science & Technology Centre (WSTC) explained the importance of early research and innovation today in order to give service personnel world leading capability for the future.

Professor Sa’ad Medhat from the Institute of Innovation & Knowledge Exchange (IKE) provided a look at how people could inject more opportunities to innovate and develop value by playing to win rather than playing to not lose in the world of business.

The remainder of the afternoon allowed people to collaborate on topics that could spark some cross-industry innovation, try their hand at the Enforcer Weapon System and Wildcat Helicopter / Sea Venom Weapon System demonstrators or engage in the Marketplace with visiting organisations, such as the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and Project Management Institute (PMI). Attendees also had the opportunity to sample what it is like to be mentored with a number of MBDA trained mentors offering personal development advice and ideas to think about, which was a great success.

The event was closed by a key note address from Air Marshal Julian Young RAF, Chief of Material (Air) with responsibility for procurement of all UK Ministry of Defence air assets and services. AM Young is also the Defence Engineering Champion. He gave a passionate perspective into what the wider community can do to help build our engineering capabilities; while also not forgetting the broad set of skills from other disciplines that are needed to ensure the UK is protected today and in the future.

Peter Tomlinson, member of the ADS Defence Sector Board and MBDA UK Chief of Staff, commented: “This is an excellent initiative which thoroughly merits the senior support for the latest event. Fostering strong relationships across the Defence Industry and wider through the New Professionals Forum will benefit all involved, both from the perspective of the individuals and their companies. MBDA was delighted to host this event and wishes the New Professionals Forum continuing success in its endeavour.”

The NPF Committee would like to thank everyone that attended and to those that helped make the event possible. The team will be working on feedback given at the event and implementing these new ideas or changes. The next event will take place on 27 March 2018 at QinetiQ Farnborough.

If you would like to know more about the NPF or get involved, please contact Frederick Sugden (NPF Facilitator)

This post was written by Luke Hammett