Holli leads our innovation strategy and is a chartered engineer

“We work on interesting projects that most people wouldn’t get the chance to.”

engineering - female in mod de&s smiling

Holli is a member of many DE&S networks including our young professionals group and our Race and Culture Network .

Why did you choose to pursue an engineering career in DE&S?

I joined DE&S after graduating from Exeter University and was keen for a career in the Weapons and Explosives sector to go alongside my existing Army Reserves career – DE&S had such a variety of projects to get involved with from an engineering perspective alongside developing other skills.

What does your role entail?

I lead the DE&S Innovation Programme and am part of the MOD Innovation Core Team, coordinating innovation activities with the other parts of Defence. In order to enable innovation in DE&S I am really keen to make use of all the new tools and techniques available to us, so I strive for the programme to push the boundaries in modern ways of working. In essence, aside from running the programme, I spend a lot of time learning from others and implementing best practice and then sharing as widely as possible.

What are the opportunities to develop and progress within your function?

Through my work at DE&S I gained Engineering Chartership in 2014. I’m currently on loan from the Engineering function into a PPM Programme Management role – I see this as a z-path move and intend to use functional management to transition back into the Engineering Function. I can certainly see the transferable skills that can be developed by taking a stint outside of my main function.

Interested in engineering?


Interested in project management?

Project Management

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I love the challenge. Most days I feel like I’m able to make a difference to the organisation and bring different groups together to find new ways to achieve DE&S outputs. I get to meet and work with so many people, in this job I am able to see so many good things about DE&S and lots more unrealised potential. I am part of the DE&S Inclusion, Diversity and Outreach Committee and I enjoy raising awareness of the benefits of thought diversity in boosting the performance of teams – we have a diverse workforce in many ways and we can harness that experience to solve some really challenging problems.

What’s your ambition?

In the shorter term I would like to see the Inspiring Innovation Programme enabling DE&S to tackle some projects in different ways – managing some risks centrally and working across Domains more. I would also like to see more creative techniques used in meetings – with people being inspired by some of the pilots we have run. In the future I’d love to work in international development – applying my engineering, innovation and psychology passions to humanitarian issues and disaster relief – helping find solutions to big issues (poverty, food crises etc). Working at DE&S has allowed me to develop in lots of different ways and I hope to apply this in new places in the future.

Are you a member of any networks? If so, why did you decide to join and what benefits do they bring to you?

I’m a member of lots of networks – I am a really strong advocate for networks as the lifeblood of a great place to work, and it’s so important to find people to learn and share with. I’m a Change Advocate, and part of the Young Defence Network South West, Early Careers Focus Group (for Weapons and Explosives), Race and Culture Network and have also been a member of the netball team. I like to support and develop others, and being part of various networks allows me to do this.

Would you recommend DE&S to others as a great place to work?

I enjoy working here – we work on interesting projects that most people wouldn’t get the chance to. There is so much scope to use your initiative and make a positive impact. I’ve never felt held back here and with the development of the networks, now it is easy to find people who I get on really well with across the business. The learning and development opportunities are huge and I’ve been able to seek out my own mentors to give me different perspectives (from inside DE&S and across industry).

Interested in joining Holli at DE&S?

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