As the Learning Development Manager at L3Harris I have a varied role: from talking to trainee pilots about factors affecting their study and consulting with colleagues on the best strategy for achieving organisational goals, to meeting with potential university partners about combined career paths and even teaching classes on Human Performance and aircraft Mass and Balance.
You could say the variety of the role is very important to me – growing up I was interested in diverse subjects such as electronics and engineering, artificial intelligence, law, research and investigation and also had an interest in why people and animals behave the way they do. You could say I had many interests, or you could interpret that as a lack of focus, but either way it was hard to decide what to do – should I become a vet, a barrister, an engineer, or something else entirely?
However, I grew up to believe that as a woman I would play a supporting role in my household; a message that was subtly ingrained in me by the actions and comments of those around me, so I didn’t really see any of these as an option. Several years later, when learning more about behaviour, I was able to see that these unintentional cues were having an impact on my choices, which opened my mind to exploring the possibilities of a career of my own.
Many people have inspired me over the years, but one was my fantastic physics teacher, Mr Diffey, who would write a joke on the board every lesson. This would usually be a dreadful joke, but when it came to exams, the questions sparked a memory of the joke, which in turn triggered the associated learning – only years later did I realise how brilliant he had been. I became more interested in why and how people learn, reading journals and papers about the subject, and then studying behaviour at university. I applied my knowledge to help those who knew what they wanted to do, working in training for a range of organisations, from finance to car manufacturers, before making my way to aviation – an industry that combines just about all my passions and allows me to continue learning every day!
Since being at L3Harris I have been fortunate enough to complete a post-graduate course in Safety and Accident Investigation, which will contribute towards a master’s degree. For someone who loves learning, L3Harris is a fantastic place to work – I get to learn from the people around me every day and I get to share my knowledge and experience to help others.
Whether you know what you want to do or not, it doesn’t matter, you can achieve anything with the right support. The various experiences and different paths I took all brought me to this role and each contributed to my ability to deliver support for my colleagues and our trainees. I may not always get it right, but I learn from every experience and reflect on what I can improve.
If I were to share any advice, it would be to stay curious and keep learning.