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Meet Our Team in Defence

Meet our team and find out what it is like to work with Serco in the defence industry.

Bob Invine – Royal Air Force veteran

When he left the Royal Air Force after 23 years’ service as a photographer, Bob was able to transition smoothly into a similar role with Serco. Now leading an Audio Visual, Photographic and Video Services team, Bob has been able to use his ex-service background to better understand our customer and deliver a ‘top notch’ service.

Bob talks about his experience working for Serco.

As a gold-awarded Armed Forces Covenant signatory, we are proud to support ex-service members in our business.

Amelia Mugridge - Commercial Contracts Analyst and Deputy Chair for in@serco

When you start a new job, it’s only natural to worry about the kind of reception you’ll get. Fortunately, Amelia Mugridge found joining Serco’s team at the Defence Academy a smooth and easy process.

One of Amelia’s priorities in looking for a new job was to work for an inclusive employer, and that’s where she found Serco registered as a Stonewall Diversity Champion. Coming from a family with a history of service in the armed forces, Amelia wasn’t sure what to expect, but the team has welcomed her from the beginning.

Being able to bring your true, authentic self to work without fearing judgement is a big part of Amelia’s advocacy. With support from the wider Serco team, Amelia has stepped into the role of Deputy Chair for in@serco, our employee network supporting LGBT+ staff to feel safe and supported at work.

Hear from Amelia directly in this video about why inclusion is important to her.

As a holder of the Silver Inclusive Employer Standard and as a Stonewall Diversity Champion, we see people first and foremost for their performance and potential, and we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive organisation that supports the needs of all. 

Ryan Flaherty - Contract Director Defence Academy

Ryan Flaherty leads our 400 strong team supporting the Joint Services Command and Staff College and Defence Academy Campus Integration contracts at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.

Although he’s been with Serco for 9 years, this is Ryan’s first role in our Defence business. A lifestyle change led Ryan and his family to move from Scotland, where he was Managing Director for the Caledonian Sleeper, to the West Country. Luckily for Serco, we found Ryan a role in our Defence Academy contract, which he is now leading with aplomb.

For Ryan, one of the most important aspects in any leadership role is ensuring everyone’s voice can be heard. In this video Ryan talks about why inclusion is important to him.

As a holder of the Silver Inclusive Employer Standard and as a Stonewall Diversity Champion, we see people first and foremost for their performance and potential, and we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive organisation that supports the needs of all.

Shell Lambert - Specialist Coordinator, Defence Academy

A life changing experience inspired Shell Lambert to join the Army Reserves. After 10 years active service she transferred to the RAF Reserves and is now part of 4624 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton.

When she’s not serving as a reservist, Shell works as a Specialist Coordinator for Serco’s team at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. Her warm smile and boundless energy make Shell a valued member of our team and we’ve been proud to support her to fulfil her personal and professional ambitions.

In this video Shell talks about her experience as a reservist while working for Serco.

As a gold-awarded Armed Forces Covenant signatory, we are proud to support Reservists in our business.

Amar Vora – Space Technical Solutions Lead

Amar Vora’s “journey into space” started when he was a young boy growing up in Dubai, finding inspiration by watching the Space Shuttle launches and marvelling at the fascinating images of our universe produced by the Hubble Space Telescope – both of which remain sources of inspiration in his career today.

This ultimately led him to achieving qualifications in Aerospace Engineering followed by a Masters in Astronautics and Space Engineering before joining a satellite technology company. It was later at the European Space Agency where he counts some of his career highlights, including helping establish the Business Applications and Space Solutions Space4Rail Initiative which involved the exploitation of satellite-based data to improve the performance, competitiveness, and attractiveness of the railway sector.

Amar is passionate about space data, saying, “We all unknowingly take space for granted; when we jump in the car, we use Google maps without a second thought or when we wake up, we might have a quick glance at the weather forecast for the day – this wouldn’t be possible without space data.”

“The potential uses are endless. I would love to see adopting space data as part of everyday working to help us drive forward the solutions we offer to our customers and improve operational efficiencies – space shouldn’t be seen as a nice to have.”

With his career pathway in mind, Amar shared his advice for someone looking to do his job; “Regardless of your background, there is always an opportunity in the Space sector no matter your educational background or area of expertise – there is always a route in, despite how closed it might seem. People are mostly attracted to the space sector because they are passionate, so I would recommend apprenticeships, graduate schemes and training opportunities to help kick-start your journey into space.”

Nick Parsons – Logistics Supervisor at the Defence Academy

Photo caption:Nick Parsons, flying a desk in Basra international Airport, Iraq, 2002.

Nick Parsons signed up for the Army at the tender age of 16, straight after leaving school. Reflecting on his career nearly three decades later, Nick focuses on remembering the good times from his 23 years as part of the armed forces. Through Serco, Nick has found a second career, putting his years in uniform to further use working alongside the Ministry of Defence.

Nick’s time in the Army began in the Junior Leaders Infantry Battalion at Shorncliffe, far from his hometown in south Wales. Having only travelled as far as Cornwall on family holidays, his first few years in the army were a bit of a culture shock – but one that Nick thrived on, saying “I’m a strong believer in grasping every opportunity with both hands”. At 17, he joined the Royal Regiment of Wales and a month later he saw in his 18th birthday on a flight over to Northern Ireland. 

His time in the Army inspired him to train as a Mental Health First Aider and he believes that the shared bond between veterans, no matter which service or deployments they were a part of, can help create a safe space. “We each have our own experiences” he notes, “but there is common ground which helps when you want to talk.” On his own struggles, Nick said “I was diagnosed with PTSD and mixed anxiety and depressive disorder which can be triggered by particular sounds or smells. At first, I was in denial that anything could be wrong, but I have been lucky to have my wife, Yvonne, during my dark times – I wouldn’t be here without her.”

Making himself available to listen and support others as a Mental Health First Aider is just one way Nick helps veterans. He is also actively involved in several charities including The Not Forgotten, Models for Heroes, and the Royal British Legion. Some of the physical fundraising challenges have seen Nick face medical concerns, some of which were exacerbated by his time in service. After three operations in the military, Nick is hoping for a knee replacement as, despite his high pain threshold supported by medication, a combination of his knee, a damaged lower back and injured shoulder mean that he is constantly in discomfort.

Even though Nick has long-lasting struggles, physically and mentally, he focuses on remembering the good times from his 23 years in the armed forces (most notably traveling round the world as part of the Royal Military Police detachment escorting then Prime Minster, Tony Blair), saying “I am most of all motivated to help other people and pass on the things I have learned. I don’t let my disabilities stop me from doing anything, I just accept it might take me a bit longer or I might need to do it a different way – I enjoy a challenge!”

In his work at Serco, as a Logistics Supervisor, Nick is able to use the technical and leadership skills he gained in the military to support his co-workers at the Defence Academy. “An old WW2 Normandy veteran once said to me “you’re only as good as your next job” and that’s a saying I’ve lived by”, Nick shared.

We recognise the value that veterans and reservists contribute to our country and our business and we are proud signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant, committed to being an Armed Forces Friendly company. Find out more on our Armed Forces Covenant page.

Salli Shapcott - FPMS Contract Director in Maritime

Salli Shapcott is responsible for ensuring that our highly specialised teams deliver safe, secure and mission critical maritime services to the Royal Navy. But that’s not all. Since Salli joined Serco in 2005, her career has flourished through a series of roles, moving into operational leadership in 2019, all while starting and raising a family.

How has your progress been supported, both in and outside of Serco?

I was able to change role and location after maternity leave and with a phased return – gradually working back up to full time. That flexibility comes from recognition that outcomes are more important than traditional management approaches. Serco has also invested in me with significant leadership training. All of this has further strengthened my commitment to Serco, helping me to progress and, I hope, become a role model for other women.

How did you approach maternity leave?

I made sure I was seen to be a valuable, professional employee – before and after I’d worked hard to get the Head of Finance role at the Serco-operated National Physical Laboratory and continued giving it total commitment until my maternity leave began. I’d also built a strong network of colleagues across Serco, and those links proved invaluable on my return – opening the door to new opportunities.

When I returned, I was three months pregnant with my second child. Again, I worked extremely hard – balancing my new role with being a new and pregnant mother. I never felt left behind in terms of career progression. The key was being open-minded, up for a new challenge and striving always to earn the support on offer.

What does it take to achieve the right work-life balance?

I don’t believe in work-life balance. It’s all part of life and you make your choices. Everyone’s ‘balance’ is different. I want to be the best mother I can be, but also the strongest performer at work. Having children doesn’t preclude fierce ambition. So, where Serco gives me flexibility, I give them commitment and hard work.

It’s not easy. I’m constantly assessing my priorities and making tough decisions. Leaving work early for school commitments is hard – I respect that decision in anyone. But for me, it means working late nights and early mornings in return. I might be at my desk from 7am-3pm, not from 3pm-6pm and again from 7pm-11pm. Not a hardship when you love what you do.

What recommendations would you make to colleagues and employers?

Everyone is different and we all make different choices. Supporting all of that can get the best out of people. Companies who offer work-life flexibility to men and women are supporting gender diversity, because for every father at the school gates, there might be a mother who can make that important call or meet that critical deadline.

And your advice to the next generation?

Keep the conversation going. As an Enterprise Advisor for the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), I not only provide strategic careers support to the senior management team of a local school but also try to spend time where I can with students to help them prepare for their future career. The next generation is utterly inspiring and are developing different expectations and aspirations; gender diversity is part of that debate. My advice to them is, don’t think about roles in gender terms – everything is up for grabs. Women should be confident in what they bring to the table. Being genuine and authentic are two of the most important leadership traits. Trust that you can add value – it will keep you heading in the right direction.

Rosie Walker - Aeronautical Engineering Apprentice

Rosie Walker completed her Aeronautical Engineer (Mechanical) apprenticeship in 2021 and it has given her invaluable knowledge and experience of working in an aircraft environment.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship? 

I chose an apprenticeship because it provided an excellent, hands-on training opportunity at an entry level position. As I was unable to join the armed forces, and living in Cornwall, this apprenticeship meant that I would have the opportunity to gain qualifications in the aviation sector. 

What are your career plans following this apprenticeship?  

I will spend time as a fitter’s mate for Serco at Culdrose. As a fitter’s mate, I will be given a task book to complete before becoming a fitter and undertaking a return to service scheme for Serco. If the opportunity arises, I would like to gain my aircraft licenses. 

Click here for the full case study on Rosie Walker