On Tuesday 12th January 2016, a small group made up of four female students, one from each of the services, Ma’am Lisa Hawkins and Ma’am Helen Dawkins travelled down the MOD Main Building, Whitehall London to attend the ‘Inspiring Women in Defence’ event.
Upon arrival we were escorted into the Memorial Courtyard where we were glad to be greeted with refreshments after our early start. We soon found, along with many of the speakers, that the acoustics in the room were not so great, but nonetheless the speeches were still given by Penny Morduant MP (Minister for the Armed Forces), Lt Gen Andrew Gregory (Chief of Defence People) and Miriam González (‘Inspiring Women’ Champion). We then participated in the speed career networking part of the event where we spoke to a Royal Marine musician, a missions systems engineer and a major from the Royal Logistics Corps to name but a few. This was followed by a few closing remarks given by Air-Vice Marshal Elaine West CBE RAF and Air Chief Marshall Sir Stuart Peach before we all posed for a group photo.
After a quick break for lunch, we returned for our own private tour of MOD Main Building given by Andy Gillman MBE (MOD Education Outreach Programme). Our tour started a few floors underground in King Henry VIII’s wine cellar; one of the many heritage pieces that the MOD owns. Next we visited one of the historic rooms which was once part of one of the grand houses which was demolished to make way for Main Building. It is now used as the Secretary of State’s waiting room.
Afterwards we visited the Permanent Secretary of the MOD and got to look inside both the Minister for the Reserves and the Minister for the Armed Force’ offices. We then passed by the other Ministers offices - Secretary of State for Defence, Minister for Personnel, Minister for Defence Procurement, and the Defence Minister for the House of Lords. We finished the tour at the other side of Main Building where each of us saw our respective Heads of Service teams.
Overall it was a very worthwhile event and a day that I doubt any of us will forget for a long time.
Sophie Gwynne – 14E
For more photographs of the event, please visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/edu_employers/sets/72157663431951236