Helen, Head of Architecture

Graduate of Heriot-Watt University
Degree: BEng (Hons) Robotics and Cybertronics

How long have you worked at AWE?
15 years

Why did you choose AWE?
I joined AWE as I was keen to work somewhere where my work would be valuable and that I would be making a contribution to our country. I really liked the people I met through the recruitment process, and they were good examples of the people that make this company great. I also wanted to work for a company with lots of different types of engineering so that I had options to move around and continue learning which enabled me to move from engineering to a role in IT.

Tell us about your time at AWE? – What do you do?
I started my career at AWE as a graduate. From there, I went from software development, through to systems engineering, to working as an architect to now being the Head of Architecture. I run the Architecture team in our Information Services department which manages the future architecture of our various IT systems. I spend most of my day in meetings listening to people, making decisions and setting direction.

What is the best thing about your job?
One of the best things about working for AWE is the ability to be involved in so many interesting projects and to learn so much. I have completed a Masters, won awards (both internal and external), presented at conferences, and even published a paper. However, the absolute best thing about this job is the people. I currently manage a wonderful team of dedicated and motivated people and work within the wider IS and AWE team where we are all motivated by the same mission. In addition, AWE has supported me as I struggled to learn to live with two chronic health conditions and then started a family. I’ve been able to work part-time and have never put any limitations on what I can do. The flexibility that AWE have shown has enabled me to attend my children’s school events and partake in multiple volunteering roles.

Why is EDNI so important to an organisation like AWE?
I believe diversity of all kinds is important to both the people and the organisation as it provides different perspectives which drive better outcomes. People also need to be treated equitably. I have seen how AWE does both through my experience as someone with chronic health conditions and now as a line manager.

How do you see you career progressing?
Regarding further career progression, I am very happy in my current role, and I am in no rush to change anything and have so much to learn and deliver. My current plan is to stay at least three years in this role.

What advice would you give someone who is considering joining AWE?
The advice I would give to someone thinking of joining AWE is to ‘go for it!’ If you join on the graduate scheme, then make the most of the placements and try lots of different things.