From base to Boeing

Boeing Defence UK (BDUK), which has long been a proud supporter and advocate for the defence and armed forces community, is one of 22 companies to have received the highest level gold award as part of the Government’s ‘Defence Employer Recognition Scheme’ (ERS). The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) is designed to encourage employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same.
Having shown its commitment by signing the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant in 2015, BDUK has embraced the opportunity to officially recognise the value that serving personnel, veterans and their families contribute to the business and the country as a whole.
BDUK has taken great effort in demonstrating its care for the armed forces, from implementing strong policies for reservists, encouraging celebrations across all sites for Armed Forces Day, as well as embracing multiple charity commitments and hosting events to support families of those in the forces community. BDUK’s initial ambition of achieving a bronze award as part of the scheme quickly skyrocketed, culminating in the gold status being awarded in June of last year.
“Boeing in the UK supports veterans and reservists because it makes sound business sense.  Not just because we have a significant defence business interest in the UK, but because we value how important defence is to our country.  Globally, around one in four of Boeing’s 150,500 employees are reservists or veterans, in BDUK we believe we exceed that. We value the people who commit themselves to our Country in regular service or as reservists, and we value the skills and commitment that they bring to work for Boeing either after their regular service has concluded, or alongside their reservist career.” Ian McNeil, Operations Director, BDUK.
BDUK dedicates itself to supporting reservists and leavers of the armed forces to forge successful careers, harnessing their talents and transferrable skills to carve their future within the company without hindrance and with the full support of management. To complement this, a Community of Practice forum has been established on the BDUK internal networking site, to open up the channel of communication between reservists so they can share knowledge and information. In addition, various learning and development pathways and courses are on offer to aid the transition from ‘base’ to BDUK.
As Boeing continues to grow in the UK, so too will BDUK’s dedication to its gold status. With a strong set of internal policies in place, outlining hot issues such as recruitment processes and leave provisions, BDUK will ensure reservists can fulfil their annual training and mobilisation commitments, at the same time demonstrating significant support to cadet instructors, veterans and military spouses and partners.

In her own words: Ellen Harrison (Lt RNR), Programme Quality Team Lead
After nearly 25 years in the Royal Navy as an aircraft engineer and subsequently an aircraft support officer, I decided to begin a second career as a quality engineer with BDUK in January 2015.  As I knew that I wasn’t ready to hang up my uniform completely, I transferred directly to the Royal Naval Reserve Air Branch straight after leaving the Regulars.
I joined the Royal Navy back in June 1990 as a non-seagoing Wren with no qualifications. Throughout my career, I became an advocate for life-long learning and made full use of the educational opportunites afforded to every serving person. I enrolled on GCSE and A-level courses and used standard learning credits and all three enhanced learning credits prior to leaving. The higher level courses I studied have benefited me greatly in my new career, as I am making good use of the qualifications in various areas of my work on a regular basis.
During my interview with Boeing, I was unsure whether they would embrace my commitment to being a reservist. These fears were unfounded, as my management has been very supportive and allowed me to have time away from work whilst I am with my training unit.  As I am married to a Regular Royal Navy Officer this is particularly important to me – the flexibility allows me to take my holiday allowance when my husband returns from sea.
I spend at least 17 days a year at my designated training unit and the squadron uses my skills as a quality engineer to assist with their quality management system policy, strategy and audits. During my most recent visit, I was asked to review the squadron’s readiness for transition to ISO 9001:2015; which coincidently I have also been working on in BDUK.
Being a reservist allows me to transfer my leadership and management skills seamlessly to my role as team lead. The professional development courses available from The Royal Navy will of course benefit me as an individual, but they will also benefit my employer – the training and experience I gain is wholly transferable and can be used to affect continuous improvement and best practice.
I am confident that if I was mobilised for either an exercise, humanitarian relief, operational tour or war, I would be fully supported by Boeing, and the management would ensure I am seamlessly inducted back into my position on my return.  In the event I was deployed for a number of months, I know that there are also networks in place that my family would be able to engage with for support.