Chris Parker: Business Dev & Capability Delivery
What attracted you to work at Ascent?
After 12 challenging and enjoyable years in the RAF, which included multiple tours overseas, I decided that my family life needed a father who spent far less time away from home and much more time attending school concerts and parents evenings.
Ascent offered me the perfect solution. I could carry on instructing in the air, a role I have always thoroughly enjoyed, and put roots down in one location.
A major additional bonus was that I was joining the company at an exciting time: the contract for the new rotary programme had been signed and we were soon to receive delivery of the new aircraft. I was therefore being given the rare and challenging opportunity to form part of the fielding team to bring them into service and develop the new course syllabus.
What did your role at Ascent entail?
I’ve been fortunate in having a number of roles within the company. I started out as a fielding team instructor, then became a training officer and finally the Chief Crewman, looking after the team of instructors that helped deliver the rotary rear crew part of the business.
The dissertation I did for my MBA explored the fields of organisational culture and its impact on programme and business development. I was therefore delighted when the company offered me the chance to be seconded into a project manager position at HQ, because it allowed me to find out more about how the business operates and expand my knowledge and experience of programme and change management. I will always be indebted to Ascent for giving me this unique opportunity
What have you enjoyed most about working at Ascent – what are some of the highlights?
Ascent is a multi-faceted and rewarding company to be part of. No two days are the same and being able to see concrete results and improvements arising out of the work you have been involved in is so motivating. Working within the military flying system and being able to support the training of all aircrew elements across defence is a real privilege.
The flexibility and the ability to access the job prospects of the two shareholder companies (Lockheed Martin and Babcock) is a unique benefit of working for Ascent. The highlight that stands out for me is seeing the first trainees graduate with their flying badges on the first Ascent course.
How is your career progressing with your move to Lockheed Martin?
I am certain that without the opportunity to do a secondment with Lockheed Martin I wouldn’t be in the role I am now. One of the values Ascent offers to its staff, is in-service training for those employees who are looking to progress their careers.
Working for Ascent has enabled me to start a second career in a different environment, without the additional uncertainty and risk associated with starting again – a massive bonus and only possible because of the company’s generosity and people strategy.
What are the benefits and why would you recommend working for Ascent?
Ascent offers its staff a working environment that provides the flexibility of a small corporate enterprise, alongside the links and access to the larger corporate businesses. It also provides a dynamic working environment delivering support directly to the three Armed Services of the UK, where staff are encouraged to manage risks, show initiative and take on a range of tasks that will develop their knowledge and skills. Expectations are high, but the blame culture is low, which means that staff feel challenged and constructively accountable.
Ascent is a company that wants its staff to succeed and make a valid and valuable contribution to its continued growth and development. The generous benefits package, notably the private healthcare provision, are practical examples of how much Ascent values its workforce.