On 9 February 2017, over 70 people from more than 20 organisations gathered at ADS Headquarters in London. The New Professionals Forum (NPF) was launched with a packed afternoon of; future insights, sharing best practice and collective ideas generation.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton launched us off with an inspiring address on the value of professional development and the informal networks people build to not only get the job done but to also help lead the charge with innovation. Sir Stephen concluded with a positive overview of what the future holds for the aerospace, defence, space and security sectors. He noted that while it will be challenging, it is bright.

Emily Self from the Royal Aeronautical Society and Laura Creek from Leonardo Helicopters provided attendees with an appreciation of professional development opportunities available to anyone in the industries.  Laura’s account of her experiences gave a glimpse into the efforts needed to gain further qualifications. A key message was that by developing your competencies in some key areas they can be highly transferable in any role.

Attendees couldn’t escape a little audience participation. They were invited to share their careers experience, both great and not so great, to help others in the wider community learn about what to look for. Honest and open conversations quickly sprung up around the room, with people trading stories and capturing them in our “CAREERS CORNER”. Attendees also had the opportunity to actively shape what the NPF does next via our “IDEAS WALL.”

The remainder of the afternoon provided a window into the thinking of today and how it might affect the future. Pete Quentin from the Royal United Services Institute and  Dr Stephen Hobbs from Cranfield University held an excellent panel on “Today’s Threats and Opportunities” across a range of topics; from satellite development and the politics of space to the evolving trends in modern day crime, nuclear policies and combat air power.

Throughout the day, RAeS, RUSI, Cranfield University and ADS hosted “marketplace stalls” to help attendees understand what their organisations do and how they could get involved to help both themselves and others. This gave a centralised opportunity to learn more about a range of groups that some people may not have known about.

The NPF will be holding regular events throughout the year – check back for more information or join us on our LinkedIn Group for updates.

This post was written by Luke Hamnett