James Peck, Market Intelligence Lead, joined the UKDSC in June 2019 for a nine month secondment from Babcock during his graduate scheme. James is now departing the UKDSC to return to Babcock and shares his views on being a secondee and the value that his time at the UKDSC has added to his career path and skill set.
“I joined the UK Defence Solutions Centre in June 2019 for a 9-month secondment from Babcock International, where I had been nearly halfway through a Business Operations Management scheme. When this opportunity was circulated to the graduates, it stood out to me as a unique chance to view UK defence industry strategically, interact with the broader UK defence industrial base, and learn about the international market environment. I knew I had to apply, and was lucky enough to be selected by Babcock.
For most of the secondment I have been Market Intelligence Lead for East and Southeast Asia. The projects that I have been involved in range from conducting analyses of international markets, investigating political environments, threats, and inventories to find capability gaps, writing ad hoc reports on emerging technologies and international competitors, and supporting high-profile engagements with foreign countries. I have enjoyed seeing the many UKDSC projects accelerate all over the world, and it has been thrilling to have contributed, in my small way, to their success.
I have developed my research and analytical skills through working in the Market Intelligence Cell. My reports drew narratives from a huge number of qualitative sources written by governments, consultancies, think tanks, universities, NGOs, news resources and more. On more quantitative aspects, it was a new challenge to work with some very large datasets and develop my data analytical skills, which will certainly be valuable when I return to Babcock.
However, the real value of this secondment is in developing a deep understanding about UK government and industry, and their roles in the international environment. To engage with senior stakeholders in industry UK and international governments on a strategic level is a rare opportunity for someone at my stage in their career but one I greatly enjoyed. The experience and exposure has enabled me to build up a network of contacts across the UK, and has greatly benefited my professional development.
Writing this at the end of this secondment, it is an unusual moment of respite to reflect on what I have been involved in. It is with some sadness that I end the secondment, but I greatly look forward to taking the skills, knowledge and experience I have gained back to Babcock”.