Navigating into a civilian career
One of the most difficult aspects I found in transferring out of the Navy was building out my CV. Everything we did was team effort, so bigging yourself up and identifying those tangible results that you’ve delivered, to put into a civilian CV, can be really challenging.
One of the key benefits I’ve seen, however, is the level of freedom you experience when you leave. Military life is very often based on taking orders; at DE&S I get to have autonomy in my decisions and steering my own work. Sometimes you may be asked for too much, and you can have the independence and support to say ‘no’ to things. That was really strange at first!
Joining the DE&S community
When I first joined the organisation, I discovered there was a wide range of staff networks I could be part of. I joined a few and it’s been a great way to expand my network. I’m part of the Volunteering Network, the Parents Network, and also part of a STEM Outreach group.
I’m a registered STEM Ambassador, which involves visiting schools and colleges to encourage students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. We know that female engineers are in short supply, and I particularly want to encourage more young women to consider this field.
We recently had a Lego expert come to site and they ran a workshop with our STEM ambassadors to teach us how to build Lego EV3 kits. That’s a programmable robotics kit, based on Lego blocks that includes computerised bricks, modular centres, motors, and other parts that can be used to create mechanical systems. We were able to build the robots, experiment, and race them, so that we could then take them out into schools, show students how to build them and get them excited about the cool things technology can do.
At DE&S, you can actually get up to six day’s paid special leave to volunteer, and through the Volunteering Network I do food collections and get involved in community activities. I’ve just started volunteering for the Trevi charity. It’s an award-winning women’s charity based in Devon, covering the whole of the Southwest. Its mission is to provide safe and nurturing spaces where women in recovery can heal, grow and thrive.
Outside of volunteering, I’m currently working towards Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status through the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), which is supported and funded by DE&S.