Thomas is a Senior Quality Engineer working in Barrow.
‘I joined BAE Systems as a 16-year-old apprentice in Barrow, having heard about the opportunities at a school careers fair. Just like today, there were a lot of different apprenticeships on offer. Business administration was the one that was best suited to me, because it offered the chance to work with all sorts of different functions in the business, get a broad view of everything that goes on, and see how it all fitted together.
At the end of the apprenticeship I knew if I stayed with the business, I’d have every opportunity to grow and progress, and to succeed. And now, as a Senior Quality Engineer, I continue to do that. I work in supplier quality assurance, predominantly managing projects, visits, and events that are applicable to the Quality function.
I’ve pretty much grown up in the business. I came out as gay and gender fluid at 18 and 22 respectively, and BAE Systems has been very supportive; diversity and inclusion is increasingly part of our culture. I feel comfortable being myself when I come to work every day and I really started to flourish when I started working in my current team. I now also have a second role, as the Submarines Business Unit Representitive for our OutLinkUK employee resource group, which supports LGBTQ+ colleagues at BAE Systems in the UK.
For OutLinkUK, I’m predominantly involved in training. I offer LGBTQ+ awareness training, using my own story, but I also get involved in HR policy changes and implementation. So we have a transgender policy within the business and I support HR colleagues to keep that policy up to date and to implement when an employee transitions. I do interviews on behalf of the business, I support Pride events, attend relevant conferences, and organise things like Pride in STEM, which is specifically for STEM organisations, but with a focus on LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
As well as diversity and inclusion, everyone’s wellbeing is valued here as well. I recently had the opportunity to become a Mental Health First Aider. Mental health can be a difficult topic but I found it really rewarding to hear other people stories on the course and to share my own experiences. It made things easier for all of us to discuss some of these things. The business funded me to do the course and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone.
I’ve had a lot of questions from within the LGBTQ+ community regarding my work at BAE Systems. National security is very important, and wherever we operate in the world I know that we will be fully supporting its employees and working to create a safer future.
BAE Systems is a great place to work if you want to make a difference and apply yourself. There are so many trades and backgrounds that we cater for, and such unique products. You’ll learn so much personally and professionally by working for BAE Systems, no matter which part of the business you work in.'

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We want everyone here to feel valued and empowered to thrive. Who you are should never define what you can do. We believe when you bring together different people and different perspectives it inspires creativity and drives innovation. It helps us fulfil our purpose and it's integral to our culture. Everyone is heard and respected here. 
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