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Zubair's personal development story

Category: testimonial, Personal Development, Staff Testimonial, ministry of defence, career progression, COVID-19, MOD, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, covid


Zubair Akram

The first thing my line manager said to me when we spoke about development and career progression was “you are in charge of your career, let me know what I can do to help”. That was around 11 years ago in my first civil service role at the Department for Work & Pensions.

Fast forward 11 years and that is what I’ve tried to do in my time here in DIO and previously in what is now Strategic Command. My thought process has always been “what do I need to do to develop myself and help me progress in the civil service, or in Defence where I’ve worked for the past 10 years”.

I quickly learnt that for me it came down to  two things, building relationships with the right people and putting myself forward whenever any opportunities presented themselves.

Since joining DIO I have been fortunate to have been given the opportunity to perform a variety of roles. I think I’ve pretty much been based on every floorplate at Sutton Coldfield at one point or another! Some of these roles came about naturally through various organisational change  and others through me seeking the opportunity to do something different and using those relationships I had built.

One example of that was when I joined DIO and was immediately seconded on to Pam Roberts’ Learning & Development team as the team I was supposed to join was still being formed. A year or so later Pam was leading the Infrastructure Management System (IMS) Training & Deployment team and required some cover, and after a brief conversation and my line manager agreeing, I went and helped her for 3 months. I’d like to think the 4-6 weeks I spent on her team previously helped me with that move.

In between that period and now, I’ve worked on the IMS Programme and the migration of data where I worked with and got to know some great people, was part of a newly formed reporting team in Regional Delivery when the Strategic Business Partner came on-board, got involved in the DIO & MOD Race Networks, completed the Positive Action Pathway programme twice, and  completed a 6 month secondment before being successful in gaining a promotion.

The majority of the above was down to the fact I put myself forward for opportunities that I thought would help me with my development. Also having built solid relationships with colleagues in the senior management community who I could seek out for advice in terms of what I need to develop to continue my development was key.

I am about to move on to a Covid-19 secondment to the Joint Biosecurity Centre. I will be part of the team that focuses on Strategy, Performance and Governance.

Zubair Akram

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