Vikas, who comes from Kent, graduated from University with a degree in mechanical engineering. He has been on the scheme for 14 months and is now a Defence Analyst on secondment at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in the Aerospace, Marine and Defence Team.
Our team is working to promote the conditions for success of the UK aerospace, marine and defence industries. I’m writing a paper on the consolidation of the European defence market and the role the UK will play in it, which is a key topic highlighted in the ‘Security and defence review green paper’. I am also trying to protect and promote the marine industry in the UK.
My choice to join the graduate scheme was a simple one. Not only is the scheme accredited for chartership, it offers you so many experiences for further development and training, such as Masters degrees, leadership and management courses, and even a course on how to escape from a submarine. Being able to move around, not just within the MOD, but within other government departments and industry, allows you to experience the defence environment from a number of perspectives.
It is that flexibility and freedom which really attracted me to the scheme.
One of the marvels of the graduate scheme is the number of opportunities presented to you either through the graduate discussion group meetings, or through the wide ranging placements you can do. My time has taken me sailing with the Royal Navy to Rotterdam, I’ve clambered through a nuclear submarine, driven a rocket launcher around Devon, evacuated from an RAF ship, and performed multiple barrel rolls in a Eurofighter simulator; all of this in my first year alone.
Not only can you experience all the fun things the MOD has to offer, you meet the most interesting people. I’ve had a working lunch at the exclusive RAF Club in Piccadilly, and been to DSEI, the world’s largest defence and security exhibition, but my highlight so far has been discussing my opinions on the future government procurement with the head of the civil service, Sir Gus O’Donnell, and entrepreneur and dragon Peter Jones. I’ve been able to do things that I never could have possibly imagine, things that would not have been possible outside of the MOD.
After completing my time on the DESG graduate scheme, it is my intention to become chartered through using the wide ranging experience that I have gained from the scheme. I hope to progress to a position in which I can help build upon MOD collaborative work within Europe, and to assist in the evolution of government procurement.
If you are looking for a job with the end result making a real difference then the MOD is definitely the place for you. It doesn’t matter whether you have carefully planned an internal career ahead of you or not, the MOD will support you wherever you want to go. You should never be afraid to ask for help; your colleagues, mentors, managers and above all the graduate office are there to support you all the way. And don’t be afraid to question common practice; the MOD rewards progress so if you think something could be done better than tell someone.
Your time on the graduate scheme will fly by so the most important thing is to enjoy it.