Ian, Programme Manager

How long have you worked at AWE?
Nearly 5 years

What did you do before AWE?
Prior to AWE I spent 19 years as a Commissioned Officer in the Royal Engineers; completing operational tours in Kosovo, South Georgia, Iraq and Afghanistan. All my operational duty was spent with the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers, were I commanded at all levels. When not on regimental duty, I was employed as a people and leadership development specialist; first, instructing at the Battlefield Engineer Wing, then the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and finally as the Senior Command and Leadership Instructor for the Corps. I also ran the Royal Engineers recruiting organisation; was Chief of Staff of the Combat Engineer School; and Military Assistant to the Quartermaster General, a member of the Army Board.
On retirement in 2014, I moved to Heathrow Airport as a programme and project manager responsible for multiple infrastructure projects including the delivery of a £300M airfield development project. I also used my leadership development experience to help shape the company’s talent development programme and a business change programme.

Why did you choose AWE?- what attracted you? The AWE opportunity seemed well aligned to my skills and experience. When I researched more, and found out more about its varied programmes, people, and benefits: professional development, flexibility, pay and a 9-day fortnight. It seemed that joining was a ‘no brainer’. So far, working at AWE has lived up to my expectations, even exceeding them in some areas.

Tell us about your time at AWE?- What do you do?
Since joining AWE, I’ve held multiple leadership roles within Programme and Project Management. I am also the lead for the AWE Armed Forces, Veterans, Reserves and Cadet Network. I love the variety within my job and feel empowered, and more importantly trusted, to deliver.

How has your experience in the forces helped with your role at AWE?
I joined AWE in a leadership role and found my experiences in the forces invaluable. My previous programme and project management experience helped with not only running programmes and projects, but also delivering the tools, people and processes to support them.
I’m known for embracing simplicity and delivering; respecting others; communicating effectively; putting safety and security first; and striving to make a difference. All traits found in forces people.

Is there anything that AWE offers or supports, that’s particularly helped you in your career?
Since joining, I’ve been very lucky to work with the most senior leaders, including the CEO, which has helped my personal development. AWE has also supported my professional development to Fellowship from both the Association of Project Managers and the Chartered Management Institute, our own leadership development programme and a coaching diploma.
I’ve also been lucky enough to be given a great deal of accountability and responsibility, despite my relative inexperience in the business/industry, and a good work/life balance.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The work at AWE is both challenging and interesting. We have a globally critical capability to deliver and are at the cutting edge of the science and technology required to do so. I also enjoy the variety (I have had 4 jobs in 4 years!); enough flexibility so I can fit work around my personal life when needed; plus opportunities to advance and grow. The reward package in terms of pay and leave is fair and the 9-day fortnight is great.

How do you see your career progressing at AWE?
I hope within five years to have closed out my current programmes; taken up a programme director’s role; gained my Association of Project Management Chartership and been accredited as a leadership coach.