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How to maximise your career in defence so you can get ahead

From land and marine to aviation, the career opportunities in the defence sector are unrivalled.

Whether you’re looking for your first defence role or have previous experience in the industry and are ready to take the next step in your career, there are plenty of opportunities for motivated and driven individuals.

In fact, the UK’s defence sector is one of the most innovative in the world, which means there are frequent opportunities to advance your career, get ahead of the competition and maximise your potential.

So, from training and qualifications to contracting overseas, here’s how to maximise your career in the defence sector so you can get to where you want to be.

6 ways to maximise your career in the defence sector:

1. Make sure you’ve got the right qualifications

First things first – qualifications. Although you don’t always need a particular qualification to work in defence, depending on your specialism, there are some qualifications that are essential should you want to get ahead.

For example, if you are interested in mechanic roles, although it’s not necessary to have a degree to work as an HGV mechanic, you will need a certain level of HGV mechanic training, whereas marine engineers will typically need a NVQ and aircraft engineers will need a diploma or NVQ as well as a license from the Civil Aviation Authority. 

The great thing about the defence sector is that there are plenty of opportunities to learn on the job, and there are always additional qualifications you can undertake to push yourself further – whether that be a forklift driver’s license for warehouse roles, Category B level license for aircraft engineers or higher-level apprenticeships which are equal to a bachelor’s degree.

2. Develop your skills

A sure-fire way to maximise your career in the defence sector is by honing and developing your skills so that you can perform a wide range of tasks and become a trusted and valued member of your team.

The more skills you have, the more desirable you become to potential employers and the higher the chance of securing a promotion.

Of course, certain skills will be specific to your specialism, whether that be an understanding of HGV technology and configurations or experience working on certain aircraft, but if you want to get ahead, you also need to work on developing your general, transferable skills too. 

Problem-solving skills, organisational skills, communication skills, leadership skills – these are all essential for senior roles in any specialism – and contact work is a great way to develop your skill set.

3. Gain experience and learn on the job

To climb up the career ladder, it helps to gain as much experience as possible – and the best way to gain experience quickly is by undertaking a contract job.

Defence contract roles give you an unrivalled opportunity to build your experience. With overseas contracting, you can grow your experience with each role, which means you can fast-track your career by working on a wide range of machinery with every role. 

What’s more, because you can change jobs at the end of your contract, you can strategically choose which roles to undertake in order to expand your knowledge and work experience with different employers quickly.

Plus, some contract roles could even offer specific training to expand your practical skills – equipping you with all the tools you need to climb up the ladder, fast!

4. Work on a variety of equipment

There’s no denying that the digital age has resulted in huge changes in the defence industry.

Technologies are developing by the day, which makes the defence sector is an incredibly exciting and rewarding industry to work in – and contract roles are one of the best ways to get the chance to work on exciting equipment!

From Apache helicopters to M1 tanks and Chinooks to Bradley Fighting Vehicles, whatever your specialism, defence contracting will give you the opportunity to work at the forefront of technology.
At M&E, for example, we recruit for a variety of contract roles in Germany, which is one of the leading countries in the world for engineering, and we also work with a US military client in the Middle East. So, you can ensure you are working on the most exciting equipment out there!

5. Grow your network

Another way to maximise your career in the defence sector is by building your network. Not only will having a large professional network mean you can keep on top of all the latest news and development in your industry, but it will enable you to make a name for yourself in the defence world.

A huge benefit of overseas contracting is that you can quickly establish and expand your professional network all over the world and build a network of people who you can call upon in the future – and vice versa.

Basically, if you’re a hard worker who is keen to progress, the more you get your name out there, the better!

6. Talk to the experts

Finally, if you want to maximise your career in the defence sector, it makes sense to call in the professionals for some expert help! Working with a specialist recruiter such as M&E Global is a fantastic way to make sure you have access to the best opportunities.

Not only will they have existing relationships with key defence industry employers, but because they know what their clients want, they will be able to provide inside info to make sure you stand out from the competition at interview stage!

You will also get to hear about the latest jobs before they are advertised online – which means you can wow potential employers with your application before others even get a look in.

What’s more, because a specialist recruiter will take the time to get to know you and understand your career goals, they will work together with you to help find roles that are the right fit for your skills that can get you to where you want to be. 

Ready to get ahead?

To find out more about the roles we are currently working on at M&E Global, or to speak to one of our team for expert industry advice to make sure you’re on the path to success, contact us today.

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