Katie is a Combat Systems Engineer
Firstly, can you tell us about your role and what it entails?
I’m a Combat Systems Engineer in the Ships domain. I support project teams with the embodiment process for new equipment across the fleet and resolve integration issues to enable new capability.
Why did you choose a career in engineering? Where did you begin?
I started watching F1 around aged 14 and have wanted to be an engineer ever since. I pursued a degree in Mechanical Engineering and joined the DE&S Graduate Scheme as a Combat Systems graduate. After completing the graduate scheme, I joined the Engineering Services team where I am now.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy being able to see the bigger picture and how the equipment I oversee fits into it. There’s a wide range of projects and activities we get involved with, so there’s lots of variety. We get to experience many different parts of the process, and not just focus on one piece of equipment.
What impact does your role make?
My role enables equipment to be fitted to ships, which has a big impact on their capability. Without Engineering Services, a lot of projects would stall. We keep those projects on track, to enable delivery to our military users, so they can continue to protect UK interests.
What are some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?
One of my highlights was delivering urgent capability requirements ahead of the Carrier Strike Group 21 voyage, which involved HMS Queen Elizabeth and accompanying fighter jets, helicopters, frigates, destroyers, tankers and a submarine travelling around the globe for almost seven months, visiting more than 30 nations and over 40 ports – it’s the most significant peacetime deployment in a quarter of a century. Although it wasn’t without its challenges, it was really satisfying to achieve and deliver this project – it’s something we’re all very proud of.
For you, what are the key things that make working here special or rewarding?
I enjoy visiting different sites to see the end result of my hard work. Being able to see the tangible output and speaking directly to our military customers to get feedback is really rewarding.
Do you feel supported to achieve your professional ambitions, and how?
Yes, I do. At DE&S everyone is allocated a Functional Development Officer (FDO) who is there to support you throughout your career. It’s been really beneficial for me to have someone to go to for impartial career advice and assistance.
How does DE&S support you to find the right balance between your work and home life?
In terms of my work schedule, the high level of flexibility really makes a huge difference. I can manage my time in a way that suits me which ultimately helps me to be more effective.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in your field at DE&S?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers – this organisation and our work is highly complex and more often than not there will be other people in the room who won’t know the answer either, so don’t be shy!
Are you part of any employee networks?
I’m a member of the Women’s Inclusive Network which is aimed at empowering and inspiring women in the organisation to reach their full potential. The network arranges talks from a variety of inspirational speakers that cover some really valuable topics. I really enjoy listening to other people’s perspectives on common issues.
Would you recommend DE&S to others as a great place to work, and if so, why?
Yes, I would. As an organisation, well-being is a really important focus, and they actively encourage a healthy work-life balance to support this.