I am a System Safety and Environmental Officer for Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S)
I work in the Ships domain, helping to manage safety and environmental artefacts. I’m responsible for gathering information from programmes to ensure actions regarding safety and environment are completed.
I graduated with a master’s degree in Analytical and Forensic Science in 2014 and worked for a company that specialised in threat detection and security screening technologies, for example for airport security. After four or five years, I moved to Bristol and worked in quality assurance for a pharmaceutical company. Even though that experience was in a different industry, I’d always been involved in quality control, which is very process driven and required a lot of attention to detail, and that allowed me to gain really important transferable skills.
I saw this role and applied for it as I felt it was very similar in terms of the focus on process, and the work was office based instead of lab based, and I was keen for that change. I joined DE&S at the end of January 2020 and I’m really enjoying the role and the opportunities I’ve been given.
When I joined the Safety team, I used my initiative to make improvements to our ways of working and restructured our Cloud-based documents to give action logs better visibility. I’ve also created information packs and new starter packs. Every couple of weeks, I provide useful information and updates to project teams. This allows different teams to find the information that’s relevant to them more easily. I can find new and better ways of doing things and make a personal impact – and that’s really empowering.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I review documentation to make sure it’s in good order, and contribute to hazard reviews to establish where hazards are applicable and whether there are any mitigations needed. I run the Hazard Log, providing advice from a safety perspective, and I’m involved in a range of working groups outside of my day-to-day role.
I’m currently working with teams across the domain to roll out new standards as they’re released, which gives me a real sense of making an impact.
What advice would you give to your 15 year old self
Be confident to speak up. If you know what you’re talking about, then stand up for it. Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to challenge norms. Be confident to try something new
What are the best and worst things about the job?
For me, the reward in this job is the stability it offers and the opportunities to grow that are available. In other organisations, opportunities can run out and you find yourself stuck in the same role, however I feel that DE&S has a good reputation for giving people the chance to move around within the organisation to gain more experience and learn new things. It’s one of the reasons I’m interested in an Environmental Management course, because it will give me transferable knowledge that I can apply in the Ships domain, but that would be equally valuable in the Air and Land domains if I were to explore growing my career in one of those areas down the line.
I can find meetings with suppliers quite daunting sometimes because of the gender imbalance [working in a male dominated sector], however there have been occasions where I’ve needed to challenge stakeholders and, at DE&S, I’m encouraged and supported to do that.