Senior Project Manager, Jithin
From mine hunting equipment and cutting-edge technology to development paths and flexible working, Jithin talks about his career path in Project Management at DE&S.
What does your role entail?
I am a Senior Project Manager in the Ships Domain, managing the assessment and acquisition of automated minehunters for Mine Hunting Capability (MHC). MHC is a novel capability, increasing the use of autonomy to reduce the need for personnel to be put in harm’s way. This involves procuring new equipment and working closely with the customer, the Royal Navy, and various contractors.
Why did you choose a career in Project Management? Where did you begin?
I have always enjoyed taking the lead and planning (be it a group holiday or group project at university) and have always been interested in the bigger picture. Like many Project Managers at DE&S, I have an engineering background and started work as a Field Service Engineer in the Oil and Gas sector, working offshore around the world. After doing this for a few years, I wanted to move into an office-based role for work-life balance. I really enjoyed the project management side and worked my way up from an entry-level project management job to running a project management office.
What difference does your role make? Why is your role important? Who does your role impact?
As a Senior Project Manager, I have various Project Managers from different areas of the programme reporting to me. I provide leadership to the project management team and am accountable for the projects and programmes to our Team Leader as well as to the customer, our armed forces on the front line. Therefore, the role is very important as it directly impacts our serving armed forces, and so it is essential to ensure requirements are met and to avoid delays where possible.
What are some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?
My current project of replacing the existing mine hunting equipment and increasing the use of autonomy is a very exciting project as it involves cutting-edge technology. As well as keeping personnel out of harm’s way, the use of autonomy also allows us to be more agile with regards to delivery, as it enables us to ship equipment around the world, resulting in a shorter turnaround time.
What are your career aspirations? And how does DE&S support you?
As a new starter with DE&S and transitioning from industry, my short-term plan is to build up more experience in my current domain. In the longer term I would like to experience working in a different domain or potentially overseas to get exposure to the various areas within DE&S. As professionals, we have a Delivery Manager for our day-to-day work, as well as a Functional Development Officer, who is there to offer advice and guidance on career paths.
Why DE&S? What makes it a great place to work?
DE&S is great place to work as it is offers very interesting programmes and projects. The organisation provides opportunities to work for different domains in Land, Sea and Air, with the added benefit of delivering a public service by supporting our armed forces. I joined during the Covid-19 pandemic and DE&S has been superb in making sure new joiners have a smooth onboarding experience and recognising that there is no ‘one size fits all’ working pattern by promoting flexible working. I also love working with a variety of people and the different perspectives this brings to the team.
What pathways are there into a career as a Project Manager? Is it a difficult career to get into?
There are multiple pathways into a Project Management career within DE&S. It can be a formal route through a graduate or apprenticeship scheme, through the external recruitment process or, for internal personnel, it could be a transfer from a different function. It is not a particularly difficult career to get into if you have an interest in project management. Project Managers have a wide variety of background experience; you would be surprised at the range of transferable skills that can be applied to that of a Project Manager from other roles. Stakeholder management and communication are fundamental to the job.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in your field at DE&S?
DE&S is an exciting place to work and you should take any opportunities presented to you when they arise. Be proactive and ask questions if you are unsure – you are not likely to be the only person with the same question!