Zac Cockcroft, Market Intelligence Lead, joined the UKDSC in September 2019 for a six month secondment from MBDA during his graduate scheme. Zac has now departed the UKDSC and returned to MBDA 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 first enquired internally about a placement within the UKDSC around Christmas 2018 (I was eager to get the role confirmed), the prospect of analysing some unique countries, experiencing a host of different circumstances jumped out at me when considering my choices for my external placement.
As a Business & Performance graduate at MBDA, I had primarily been in Project Management related roles, though for my external placement I fancied something a bit different: A market analyst role with built-in business development insights. The time-frame the UKDSC operates in (roughly five to twenty years in the future) allows for a strategic thinking approach, a mind-set which would no doubt help my own personal development. This benefit combined with my own personal interest in the subject matter built the foundations for an excellent secondment.
Upon my arrival I realised the importance of the UKDSC for defence industry prosperity in the UK. The Capability Team building viable bi-lateral enhancement frameworks, the innovation team, ensuring the UK is party to and leading the way in the next generation of cross sector technology, and finally the Market Intelligence Cell, providing the unique insights, identifying opportunities and providing world beating analyses.
My role at the UKDSC was the Market Intelligence Lead for Africa and South, Central Asia. In truth, I was somewhat intimidated by the sheer size of the region, however as I settled into the role it became much more manageable. It certainly brought some benefits of its own, three regions rolled into one: A section of the MENA region, Sub-Saharan Africa and South, Central Asia. Each region wholly different from the next. My primary output was the Country Synopses and Regional Insights, I particularly enjoyed the threat analysis section of said packs, taking a deep dive at what the nation perceives its threats to be, often a complicated fabric of varying strands, inter-woven into a greater danger. My final project was a competitor analysis, this was a comprehensive inspection of how the UK compares with a competitors export and domestic markets. The freedom to shape this project depending on the data available was most enjoyable and the results were certainly thought-provoking.
The most insightful aspect to this role (which I wasn’t expecting) is the UK Government-Industry relationship, and how each works together in a “position to win” campaign for the UK. The frequency of stakeholder engagements, branding, and the importance of expos, all building on the Team UK ethos. It would be all too easy to forget about the pain-staking work put in by both parties, behind the scenes to ensure a cohesive front, and for that, both have my admiration.
The skills I have developed during my time here at the UKDSC will help me tremendously throughout my career: linking multiple sources together to build the bigger picture, collating information, making comparisons and presenting the data in the most informative, objective way can really provide an organisation with the information and stimulus needed to set it apart from the rest.
As I return to MBDA, I will endeavour to incorporate the skills I’ve learnt into my future roles. I’d particularly like to thank the MIC management team and those in the Capability Team who I’ve worked with on the Central Asian region. I look forward to my next encounter with the UKDSC, I’ve had a fantastic six month secondment and wish you all the best for the future.”