I’m Cait and I’ve just taken over as Chair of the New Professionals Forum. By day, I work for BAE Systems Air Sector in Research & Technology but alongside this, I’ve got a passion for bringing people together to make cool things happen – hence the NPF. I’ve been involved with the committee for just over a year and we’re excited to challenge ourselves this year to give you all opportunities to get together and find other like-minded people across the aerospace, defence, space, and security sectors.

Personal Introduction

I’m a physicist by background (University of Southampton), spent a summer with the International Space University, took a year out to travel the world, then came back to the UK, moved to Preston, and started working for BAE Systems Air Sector. 4.5 years later and I’m still loving it. I joined as part of their Engineering Graduate Scheme, spending two years across 4 placements moving round the company.

I found the NPF as a group of us had got together to form the Millennial Think Tank, a mix of grads and apprentices who wanted to take on stretching projects outside our day jobs. I lead one team who were delving into how we could improve our relationships with external companies. I’d just come back from a 6 month secondment into Reaction Engines Limited (which was a fantastic experience), so was keen to further explore how we could all benefit from cross business relationships. Long story short, we came across the NPF, a group of others who were looking to improve relationships between companies, for retention, education, and meeting other proactive people. Throughout another couple of jobs in the company, this has stayed with me as a constant.

The Importance of Collaboration

For me, that’s what being in the industry is all about – the challenges across our four sectors can’t be solved by one person working in isolation. We have to work with other engineers and scientists, other functions within our own companies, academia, different companies, and the user to find a solution that will work. Finding other people across aerospace, defence, space, and security, who also want to take on challenges and make things happen is why I’m in the NPF and why I’m really excited for what we’re planning this year.

Future Plans

To give you a taster of what to expect, we’re working on upping our online presence, to give you access to some of our experiences and links to events happening across the industry. We’ll be holding our own innovation challenge events to explore industry challenges supported by the Institute of Innovation & Knowledge Exchange, and of course, our annual conference in November. We’re still working out what the theme for this is going to be for this year but when we do, we’ll be planning briefings, networking, and activities to give you all the chance to find out more about the industry as a whole and meet others with similar interests. There are some great places in the country where a lot of our companies are co-located so keep an ear out for local activities which (if we have time!), we’ll be trying to squeeze in.

If you’ve got ideas or want to get involved, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you, from organising a local event, joining the committee, or even just writing a blog to share your view of the world.

The ADS New Professional Forum is an ADS group open to all members aiming to promote networking and collaboration in young professionals new to our industries.
If you’d like to find out more, please contact Simon Levy.