GSE Careers ProfilesAbout this leafletThere is no ‘typical’ career path for a scientist or engineer in the Civil ServiceHow you choose to develop your own career is up to you, depending on yourown personal career goals, your area of expertise, and what motivates you.This leaflet is designed to help you think about where a career in the CivilService could take you and explore the wide range of opportunities for peoplewith a science or engineering background to display and develop theirexpertise and experience, and build their careers.It is also worth looking at the GSE “Planning your career” guide, whichcontains advice drawn from the wider selection of interviews we conducted aspart of our review. This aims to provide guidance on the kind of behavioursand thinking that should help you develop your career.Introduction to roles for scientists and engineers in the Civil ServiceThere are around 12,000 scientists and engineers in government carrying outa huge range of occupations, from radiation health and safety to brainelectrophysiology, cloud physics, or agricultural processing.Scientists and engineers play a wide range of roles in government, whether inthe monitoring and regulatory environment, operations and service provisionor policy spheres. Science and engineering roles in government may demanddepth of knowledge and expertise in particular disciplines or sectors as wellas an ability to engage across a wide range of disciplines. Your preferences inthis area can help guide your career choices:• the Practitioner, who provides specialist advice or services and is likely tobecome or remain a deep expert in their field;• the Integrator, who manages science or engineering programmes orworks closely with researchers, and whose expertise depends onunderstanding both policy or operations and the wider landscape ofscience and engineering expertise and knowing how to engage with both;and• the Informed Advocate, who works in policy or operations and retains alively and informed interest in science or engineering.Introduction to the career profilesThe following six profiles represent a selection of the possible professionalfunctions and identities that constitute the science and engineering communityin the civil service. They demonstrate both the wide range of jobs open tosomeone entering the civil service with a science or engineering backgroundand the diversity of career paths that can be followed in reaching seniorpositions.The short profiles aim to provide an insight into the motivations and keydecisions of successful senior civil servants. The career timelines illustratehow they got to where they are today and the kind of experiences and traininghelped them achieve this.
Katherine RiggsDepartment for Environment, Food and Rural AffairsKatherine joined the civil service after a degree in environmental science anda PhD in soil chemistry. She initially joined Defra as a soil chemist to managethe R&D programme on soils. This made use of the knowledge she hadgained during her degree and PhD. After becoming interested in thetranslation of science into policy, she applied for the policy fast stream – as anexternal candidate. Having achieved it herself, she now encourages scientiststo try to make the move across to policy. She acts as a mentor to supportscientists trying to achieve this and sits on the fast stream panel.Since coming in through the fast stream she’s had a range of posts whichhave used her scientific background to varying extents, including on animalhealth and welfare and food policy which made use of her scientificknowledge, as well as in corporate roles and EU negotiations. She worked onthe Foresight report on food security. As part of that she had to read largevolumes of technical material and advise how to best communicate it - anexperience she considers her scientific background to have been particularlyuseful for.Although she now works predominantly in policy making roles, she feels thatscience has underpinned her career.
Clive Tarver: Director ISTARMinistry of DefenceClive is currently Director ISTAR in the Ministry of Defence’s procurementorganisation, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). Following anEngineering Degree from the University of Cambridge, Clive joined the MoDthrough their Science and Engineering Fast Stream and has remained withthe department since.The appeal of engineering is what originally took him to the MoD. Although hehasn’t done much pure engineering since leaving the fast stream it hasaffected his career choices and Clive has continued to seek out engineeringrelated roles. He has worked in the Ships Support Agency, SpecialCommunications Integrated Project Team and a selection of posts to broadenhis experience. These included Head of the MoD External Relations Unit inWhitehall, Private Secretary to Chief of Defence Procurement and SupportDirector in the Defence Procurement Agency. He’s been part of the seniorcivil service since 2007 and moved into his current post in 2011.He tries to maintain professional links through IMechE and IET, and woulddescribe engineering as his career anchor and as a key part of his identity –although he would now identify portfolio, programme and project managementas his primary area of expertise. The main motivators behind his career havebeen job satisfaction and retaining a healthy work/life balance. The nature ofthe work he’s sought out has ensured that his work has remained interesting.Clive personally feels that there has been loads of fabulous support availablefor his career development. This began with the fast stream, and includedscience and engineering related experience provided by the MoD, such ascourses at Cranfield and Shrivenham. The MoD also sponsored him to takean MBA at Warwick Business School. More recently, he’s benefited from aBand B development scheme, and found the executive coach this provided tobe particularly valuable.
Clive Tarver’s Career Timeline= Learning,development andtraining opportunityEngineering Degree, CambridgeScience and Engineering Fast SteamBand B2 – Business Manager (ShipsSupport Agency)Secondment - Script Writer (BalkansSecretariat)Team Leader (SpecialCommunications Project Team)MBA – Warwick Business SchoolHead of MoD External Relations UnitPrivate Secretary to Chief of DefenceProcurementSupport Director (DefenceProcurement Agency)IPT Leader Marine Electrical SystemsDirector Corporate InformationDirector InfrastructureHead of Air C2 Programme DeliveryGroup199220002002Devonport Naval BaseSpecial Projects Procurement20042007Director ISTAR200820092011Band B Development SchemeRoles taken tobroadenexperienceExecutive coachwas particularlyvaluable
Kären ClaytonHealth and Safety ExecutiveKären joined the civil service as an Assistant Scientific Officer in the MoD.She subsequently gained experience working in industry with BAe beforemoving to HSE, who recruited her for her knowledge of explosives. She is achartered chemist and also a mentor for both GSE and HSE. She studied parttime after starting at the MoD, and continued doing so for several years.The jobs that Kären has taken have been driven by a desire to take risks andpursue change. She has been eager to avoid doing the obvious or taking jobswhere there is an entrenched way of doing things. She hasn’t carefullyplanned her career, and has taken jobs opportunistically. Science has playeda role in her career by opening up opportunities that may not otherwise havebeen available.Her role as a production manager at BAe, and the business managementcourse she did while in that post, helped to take on a variety of more diverseroles at HSE. In her current role she is a policy maker and a programmemanager, supporting the director. Previously she has worked as the Head ofProcess safety, as Head of HSE’s Biological Agents Unit, where she workedon issues such as foot and mouth outbreaks; she has also worked on areview of the HSE communications approach.Kären believes that there were several key decisions she made for her career.The first of these was the decision to continue studying while working. Thesecond was the decision to go back to work quickly after having her son. Shefelt that had she not done this she would not have been able to return on apromotion. Finally, she considers the decisions to take on roles outside herdiscipline at HSE, often where things needed sorting out, to be key points inher career; the key training and development opportunities she had assistedthis transition
Kären Clayton’s Career TimelineAssistant Scientific Officer, MoDPart Time StudyProduction Manager, BAeBusiness Management CourseHSE Explosives InspectorContract Manager for HSE IncidentContact CentreSenior Professional AdministrativeTraining SchemeProject Manager HSECommunications ReviewHead of Process Safety, HSEHead of Biological Agents Unit, HSEPreparing for Top ManagementProgrammeDirector Corporate SpecialistsDivision, HSE= Learning,development andtraining opportunityDirector Long Latency Health RisksDivisions
Stephen NicklinDefence Science and Technology LaboratorySteve is presently a senior fellow at DSTL and CONTEST advisor onExplosives Detection and Diagnostics. He studied Cellular Pathology atuniversity, and a PhD in immunology at Bristol. In addition to authoring andreviewing numerous internal reports Steve has also published widely in peerreviewed scientific journals. He has edited 2 books on immunology and holdsa number of patents relating to detection and degradation of explosives.Early in his career he was expected to do and deliver science due to hisscience background, but found that within a large organisation there arenumerous opportunities. Within Dstl if you have the ability, inclination and takethe training, moving into management or supporting roles is no problem.Steve feels that moving back into science from management is more of aproblem if you do not maintain your currency in science – so it’s important youdecide what you want to do. He believes it is up to the individual to workaround any barriers in their way, and retrain if necessary – change is alwaysgood.Currently specialising in detection and diagnostics, he continues to workclosely with academia, industry and international partners, developing andadvising on science and technology to support UK forces. The most importantdriving force behind his career decisions has been the desire to never bebored and to never turn his back on an opportunity. He said a pivotal momentfor him was when he successfully applied for a position in Dstl on a whim afterhe became bored with his job at the time after being there for several years.He has a love for doing science, and messing about with ideas, and neededto be working in a laboratory setting to enable this. However, as his careerdeveloped, he moved towards more management oriented roles where hewas responsible for leading and developing a group of 40. At this point heguided his projects, which were done by members of his group or in academiaand industry. He was then encouraged to apply for the Dstl fellowship scheme– which provides a non-managerial, technically focussed, route to senior andinfluential positions within the organisation – in recognition of his contributionto science, staff development and collaboration. It’s not possible to be both afellow and a group leader, and Steve chose to follow the fellowship route.
Steve Nicklin’s Career Timeline= Learning,development andtraining opportunityBSc Cellular PathologyPhD Immunology, BristolHead of Immunology andImmunotoxicology Department,Team Leader, Biological Detection –Explosives Detection Group, DERASection Head of Biological DetectionBid and Assignment Manager for EDApplied Research ProgrammeTechnical ConsultantTechnical Manager (Capability)DERA FellowshipSenior FellowshipSenior Fellowship status reconfirmedCapability advisor to CTS & TCTechnical Advisor to Centre forDefence Enterprise197819911994Postdoc at Wellcome Research LabImmunology Department, BIBRA200120042006 -2009 -Group Leader for Explosives197519781981198720061998199819971995Provided input to Bioremediation1999
Zoë DayanDepartment for Business, Innovation and SkillsZoë joined the Civil Service directly at Grade 7 after extensive experience inindustry. She began her career as a control and electrical engineerspecialising in chemical manufacturing processes. She spent 10 yearsworking at ICI and AstraZeneca, where she was involved in plant design,installation and maintenance and then operations and supply chainmanagement.The decision to join the civil service was a pivotal move for her career. Shemade it because she wanted a change from the operational managementenvironment. She was attracted by an advert from the Department for Tradeand Industry because it suggested that her background in the chemicalsindustry was desirable. Zoë had no ‘5 year plan’ for her career, although didmake the choice to move away from being a practitioner, at least for a while.While she would consider her current area of expertise to be policy delivery,Zoë has found her specific engineering background to be useful in roles in thematerials and metals sector team, research sustainability and carbonemissions trading policies. The general business understanding and analyticalskills she developed through her engineering training and experience havealso been useful throughout her civil service career. She believes that theengineering mindset is valuable and can sometimes give her a differentapproach from her colleagues.
Zoë Dayan’s Career TimelineSponsorship by ICI.University courseICI – Engineering (5 years)Gained Chartered Engineering statusAstraZeneca – Operations Management(2 years)DTI - Direct Entry G7, StrategyDTI – Materials and Engineering SectorsDTI /BERR - research sustainabilityBIS – Better Regulation Executive= Learning,development andtraining opportunityYear teaching English to CzechEngineers
Laurence Bryant: Director WeaponsMinistry of DefenceLaurence is currently the 2* Director of the Weapons Operating Centre withinthe Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation in the MOD. As theDirector, he heads a team of 1784 personnel who procure, deliver andsupport weapons to the British Armed Forces. In addition he is the Head ofProfession for Weapons, Ordnance, Munitions and Explosives, a charteredengineer and a certified project manager.Laurence joined the MoD as an apprentice at the age of 16, attracted toengineering by the combination of a good, solid job in the civil service and hisenjoyment for the practical side of engineering. With the exception of a twoyear secondment to industry he has stayed with the department since. Heremains proud of his engineering background and continues to find it useful inhis current role.Particularly since his early 30s, he has sought a move from quality control into programme and project management. He hoped this would allow him todevelop wider skills and have a larger remit – something he considers to bemore challenging and rewarding. He took a Naval Ordnance course atShrivenham before moving to Scotland where he worked in weapons testingwith torpedoes. He then pursued an MSc in guided weapons, again atShrivenham, before securing a project management role with Sea Wolf.He considers this MSc to be a pivotal moment in his career as it anchored himto working in weapons and directly led him to Sea Wolf, where he was for thenext 8 years with the exception of his secondment. Since then he has workedin a number of roles, including deputy team leader of the Ground Based AirDefence programme and then UK Military Flying Training and SimulationTeam Leader, before becoming Deputy to Director Combat Air and movinginto his current role in 2012.
Laurence Bryant’s Career TimelineApprenticeQuality Control RoleNaval Ordnance Course(Shrivenham)Weapons Testing (Scotland)MSc Guided Weapons (Shrivenham)Project Management (Sea Wolf +others)SecondmentDeputy Team LeaderTeam Leader (FsAST)Team Leader (UKMFTS)Deputy to Director Combat AirGateway Team LeaderDirector Weapons1996200020022004200620092012= Learning,development andtraining opportunityMSc was pivotal,anchoring Laurenceto weapons