The Royal Navy’s fleet of Type 45 Destroyers are one of the most complex, highly integrated and capable anti-air warfare platforms in the world, tasked with protecting the nation’s interest around the globe.
The responsibility for ensuring that capability remains at the forefront of naval technology falls to the Type 45 Class Output Management Team of BAE Systems Maritime Services.
Nick Martin and Louise Sandford both worked on this important programme as part of their graduate training. Below they tell us more about their experiences and the opportunities that exist on BAE Systems’ graduate programmes to build a career supporting the nation’s Type 45 fleet.
Nick, who until recently was a Senior Project Coordinator within the Type 45 Upgrades team, studied History at the University of Exeter before completing a Masters at the University of York in Post-War Recovery Studies. After university, Nick undertook consultancy work for the Department for International Development and completed an internship at the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations in East Timor.
I joined BAE Systems in 2013 having secured a place on the Graduate Development Framework. My first placement was working on an international bid with the Combat Systems team of our Naval Ships division based at Broad Oak, Portsmouth. I then moved to work on Al Rasikh, the third of the Omani Khareef class corvettes before relocating to Rosyth to work on the Prince of Wales aircraft carrier. I then came to the Maritime Services division and joined the Upgrades team before working on HMS Westminster upkeep.
Whilst completing the Graduate scheme, there were continuous opportunities to increase my responsibilities, taking on bigger and more complex projects. The range of opportunities and the support available have accelerated my development and led to me being offered the role of Project Controller within the Type 45 Upgrades team after completing the scheme.
I was attracted to the Type 45 Upgrades team because of the team itself and the management structure around it. The best is asked of every member of the team and a high level of support is in place to help everyone deliver their full potential. I also wanted to experience the uniqueness of working at Portsmouth Naval Base. It was incredible to be able to see the kit I’d worked on being installed onto a Type 45. It was very rewarding to see what impact my work had, from top to bottom.
The breadth of opportunities on the Graduate Framework and the skills I acquired on the Type 45 programme have accelerated my development and ultimately led to my recent promotion to Deputy Platform Manager for the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers.
If I was asked what advice I would give to people who are new to the Graduate programme, I’d say recognise and take every opportunity available to you. There is so much you can do as a graduate; it is a brilliant scheme with fantastic support. It allows you to build a strong foundation for the rest of your career if you choose well and exploit the vast opportunities available to you.
Louise Sandford is a Project Controller who joined BAE Systems in 2014 having studied European Business at the University of Portsmouth.
I joined BAE Systems on the Graduate Development Framework and chose to complete all my placements in our Maritime Services division. My first role was based in Portsmouth working on Archerfish, our mine neutralisation system before I moved to Small Boats, which produces specialist high speed craft, from Rigid Inflatable Boats through to Fast Attack Craft. My final placement was in the Business Winning Team before I eventually joined Type 45 Upgrades.
My greatest achievement so far with BAE Systems is the work I undertook on the Automated Vessel project during my third placement. I was challenged to turn a Pacific 950 Rigid Inflatable Boat into a fully automated vessel using very new technology. I worked on the first stage of the programme that culminated in a trials day, which the Ministry of Defence, Royal Navy and media were invited to. We also created a video to market the product at the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition, one of the largest events of its type in the world.
My experiences on the Graduate Development Framework led to me being offered my current role of Project Controller in the Type 45 Upgrades team. The role can involve anything from inputting into Contract Status Reviews through to forecasting the work we expect to undertake with the customer for the next three to five years. I also manage a number of high profile Combat Systems projects which gives me extra experience and increases my competency levels.
The breadth of opportunities at BAE Systems has helped me develop skills beyond the requirements of my day-to-day work. The management team have supported my future career development by taking time to understand my aspirations and helping me establish how best I can achieve them.
If I was asked what I would say first to people considering or starting the Graduate Development Framework, it would be that it’s important to recognise and make the most of the wide range of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics opportunities that are available to you – on top of your day job – as a graduate with BAE Systems
The advice I’d give is to continuously build, and make full use of, your network. I speak to fellow ex-Graduate Development Framework colleagues in all areas of the business every day; when you need help, there is always someone in your network to ask.