Assistant Commercial Officer, John
Why did you choose to pursue a career in Commercial in DE&S?
I always had an interest in joining DE&S. My father worked in aerospace on both the civilian and military side so growing up I always had a level of intrigue and fascination with the industry.
I wanted to pursue a career in commercial management as in my previous employment I had started to look after some contract management and was looking to turn this into my full-time career. Several people had suggested DE&S as they had a reputation not only for being a good employer but also for helping people like me (who perhaps didn’t have the most experience) in growing and developing a long-term career.
What does your role as an Assistant Commercial Officer entail?
I don’t want to sound like a cliché, but every day is different and every day there are new challenges. In essence the commercial function acts as a go-between for industry and DE&S. We are here to ensure that contracts are placed and managed effectively, but also to ensure that whatever is being purchased is always kept within the scope and brief of the contract. The other side of the job is all about people and building relationships. If you can build strong relationships with your suppliers, then when challenges come up you can work collaboratively to resolve them.
What are the opportunities to develop and progress within Commercial?
There is a huge amount of opportunity for anyone looking to develop and progress in their career. What I think makes DE&S different is that there is a clear roadmap for anyone who is looking to progress. In my first week at DE&S, I was assigned a Functional Development Officer (FDO). FDOs are there to help you grow your career and ensure that you are developing and gaining new skills. There is also a lot of training available in the form of internal training and access to professional qualifications. I am already on my way to gaining my CIPS professional qualification. This was made available from day one and you are really encouraged to make use of all these resources.
What do you most enjoy about your Commercial job?
The two things that stick out for me are the challenge of the role and the people I am fortunate enough to work with.
When I was first offered the job as an Assistant Commercial Officer, I initially thought I would be working on smaller, lower value projects, but I soon found that I was working on one of the larger, more complex contracts that DE&S has. While the term ‘in at the deep end’ came to mind, I do really enjoy being challenged and working on more technical programmes. Although it has been a challenge, I can say with confidence that in the short time I have been here I have already learned so much more than I thought I would have.
Secondly, I would say it’s the people and team that I work with. I have never met anyone in DE&S, regardless of rank or seniority, who hasn’t been welcoming and generous with their time and advice, which has made for a great culture to work in.
Why would you recommend DE&S to others as a great place to work?
I have to say it would be the culture, the work and the opportunity for career satisfaction and growth. There is a real culture in DE&S of wanting to see everyone succeed and do well. I’d also say that there is real opportunity to develop and grow your career. There is also satisfaction in knowing that the work we do is making a difference and helping support the great work of our armed forces at home and abroad.