Nadia Johnson

Nadia Johnson | Thales UK

I am Nadia Johnson, 21 year old software engineer for Maritime Mission Systems Thales UK, working on SONAR processing. My current position is one of four third year software degree apprentices, where I study my degree part time alongside my job. I work with languages such as Java and C++ and for the first project at Thales, I had to teach myself python. My role doesn’t only revolve around constant programming, but requires a key understanding of the systems you’re working on.

I’ve taken it upon myself to introduce new innovative ideas never considered before in my department which I demonstrated on my first project with Thales. I was given the role of evaluating and establishing a new automated test system based around a technology called Squish. The technology and the culture of such an automated testing system were new to the software team and department I work in.

I have now moved on and working with our biggest SONAR system S2076 updating the software for our Astute Class Submarines. I have taken it upon myself to investigate new technologies that we can use in future developments of the system. I can combine these aspects of my role to my University projects, giving me a complete understanding from both an industrial and academic view of the technical units and technologies.

In addition to my role, I have owned and led the following activities in Thales:
>Snapchat – I have been the Thales UK lead for snapchat usage. I helped create a snapchat channel for the Thales early careers site showing life as an apprentice at Thales for prospective employees.
>UK Apprentice Committee – I am one of six members of the Thales UK apprentice committee, regularly presenting to the UK management board.
>Work based groups- I am currently a champion for both our ‘Your Employee Society’ (International) and ‘Employee Engagement’ teams at the UK and regional level here at Thales.
>I am a mentor for our new intake of apprentices, encouraging them to get involved in the same types of activities I found myself doing throughout my apprenticeship. I am also there to provide support with University also.


Rebecca Fyans

Rebecca Fyans | Royal Navy

After travelling across Asia Pacific in 2004 I realised I wanted to do something different so I joined the Royal Navy in 2007 at the age of 27. I have worked in many different places HMS York, Camp Bastion hospital in Afghanistan and HMS Nelson before I found out I was pregnant in 2012. This is when my life changed for the better, forever.

Sebby was born in 2013 with Down Syndrome (DS). The Royal Navy allowed me to take a career break to dedicate my time to ensuring he had the best start in life. During this time I became closely involved with a children’s charity, the Portsmouth Down’s Syndrome Association. In the last few years whilst volunteering as a charity Secretary, Trustee and new parent liaison; I have delivered training to midwives on how to give a positive diagnosis of DS; lectured college students and educational professionals; spoken at charity events and high profile dinners; been filmed for the Channel 5 Great South Run; organised and taken part in multiple fundraising events; and featured in the Navy News on several occasions.

I am extremely passionate about ensuring new parents have a positive start on their family journey and are given the support they need in the early days following a diagnosis. I actively seek out military families with a child with DS and signpost them to groups and military charities that can support them.

I am part of a global initiative to spread positive awareness of DS, networking with local businesses and organisations UK wide. I thrive on both promoting the charity and the work that we do. I feel proud to be a part of a such a wonderful and close community.

After 4½ years I returned to the RN in June 2017 working in Legal Services at Navy Command HQ dealing with Service Complaints and have not looked back. I am proof that you can have a full-time career in the RN, a husband that is also serving in the military, 2 children- one with additional needs and a Trustee who aims to inspire women to stay in the Armed Forces after having children.


Bethany Kerr

Bethany Kerr | Thales UK

From day one I knew where I wanted to be. A successful, independent and empowering young woman. I left college at 18 with A-Levels in Mathematics, Business Studies and Psychology, I did not want to take the traditional route to university and when I left college I took a year out. Thankfully the common perception of a gap year has substantially changed in the last decade. I was able to gain full time employment whilst commencing on a personal journey which has been instrumental in laying the foundations to develop me into the mature, sensible and compassionate person I am today in both work & life. After considering my options, I knew I wanted to embark on an apprenticeship scheme and I have grown up with family working in both the engineering and defence industry. This led to me successfully gaining an apprenticeship role at Thales & taking the bold decision to relocate to the city of hard work ethic and hub of activity that is Manchester. My current title is a Project Planning and Controls Apprentice.


Samantha Neath

Samantha Neath | BAE Systems

I, unlike most of my peers, chose not to go to university so my working life began quite a bit earlier than others and my introduction to employment was not via the usual graduate route. I started my career in IT recruitment, which I did for about 3 years; I joined in a support role, but then moved into recruiting, account management and then team leader.

I then wanted to make a change into resource management, so applied for a vacancy with Lockheed Martin UK, who I had actually worked with previously in the recruitment agency. I was successful and was hired as the Resource Manager on a large government IT programme (c.300 people). The programme was a consortium between Lockheed Martin (as the prime), BAE Systems (or what was Detica at the time) and Logica, so the role involved working with the other two organisations as well as recruitment agencies and the HR teams within Lockheed. After almost 2 years in post, the programme contract came to an end so I decided to make another move, both in my job but also physically to London.

In 2015 I joined BAE Systems Applied Intelligence as an Operations Manager, managing the resourcing function across multiple clients and projects in our National Security account in London. After 12 months in the operations team, I wanted to make a change to work in a client-facing role and I was lucky enough to be able to make an internal move into the Business Analysis practice. In early 2016 I took on my first project role in our National Security client group, working as part of a business change team delivering a new IT system to customers and users across the UK. My next project role was in the commercial team supporting a multi-procurement programme within the Home Office, before I moved back into National Security.

In my current project I work in the resourcing work stream to set up and staff a new government body. This has allowed me to bring together all my previous resourcing and recruitment experience, with my more recent knowledge and understanding of the client landscape. It is definitely the most challenging, yet interesting, project I've ever worked on and I am looking forward to it's completion in 2019.

Last year I also took on a voluntary role of leading the LGBT employee resource group, OutLink. in Applied Intelligence. With the support of OutLink and other colleagues, I have managed to successfully launch the Allies programme, communicate key LGBT dates, hold networking and social events, work with our clients on LGBT matters and grow the network by over 20 times in less than a year. I have also agreed to take on the role of co-chair for the network across wider BAE Systems (about 33,000 people in the UK), which I will be starting in June / July this year.


Caroline Gadsby-Bruce

Caroline Gadsby-Bruce | Accenture

Studying Aerospace Engineering in Liverpool prepared me well for my first role at Accenture; based in the factory of an Aerospace manufacturer in the North-West! Since joining Accenture in 2012, I have worked within Technology Consulting in Aerospace and Defence. My main focus area is the implementation of multispeed (agile elements) into large ERP transformation programmes to improve performance. I love using skills from my engineering and consulting background to fix client problems with such a tangible product.