Vice President Talent and Strategic Staffing


I joined Cobham at a very interesting time in our development. From the start Cobham grew organically and through acquisition. By 2006 it was comprised of 87 different business units spread across the world. We were successful at acquiring businesses that were successful in their own right, but which were a variety of sizes and had different levels of scalability and people capability.


What was needed was one brand and a unified structure that leveraged the businesses while maintaining the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that had underpinned the company's growth. It was a phenomenal challenge, but one that I relished - how often do you get the opportunity to shape what a company will look like in the future? We had to look at how we could lead those organisations and make sure they were in a position for growth, and whether we had people in place that could position those companies appropriately - and that, of course, was my big focus.


Two years later there was a new company structure, which must be one of the leanest of any FTSE 250 company. We've had to encourage the businesses to see how they can work with HR and where HR sits in the business. By working with the people in the business units you end up with better products.



HR Assistant Cobham Technical Services


I work in the Human Resources team for Cobham Technical Services. My role is to support our 250 staff as part of a 3 person Human Resources team. We work across three different sites providing HR advice, assistance with recruitment, compensation and benefits, performance management and staff development. We make sure that, once a member of staff is successfully recruited, they have all they need to fulfil a long and happy career with Cobham Technical Services (which provides components and sub-systems, technical consultancy services and electromagnetic and power system modelling software).


Being part of the HR community means I have the opportunity to be involved with the larger Cobham group through joint HR projects and this gives real insight into the business as a whole. On site I have meetings and involvement with employees across our business. And although I'm not an engineer, having face-to-face access to our diverse workforce makes understanding the business that little bit easier.


Being part of Cobham Technical Services means being part of a company with a long history of unique innovation. Cobham Technical Services was a finalist in the prestigious 2010 MacRobert Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering, for its innovative MINEHOUND dual-sensor mine detector. Cobham Technical Services was presented with a MacRobert Award Finalist Certificate at the Guildhall in London "in recognition of a substantial contribution by way of innovation in engineering".


MINEHOUND is a hand-held mine detector incorporating Cobham's leading-edge ultrawideband ground penetrating radar and a high-performance metal detector developed by Cobham's manufacturing partner for the product, Vallon GmbH. The combination of sensors has the potential to reduce the number of false alarms by more than 80%, as shown in trials in Cambodia, Bosnia and Angola. This greater efficiency increases the amount of land which can be cleared within given budgets and timeframes.


Being part of the HR community at Cobham means that in every case there is the potential to be involved. As Cobham's scope becomes more and more widely known this is only going to become more pertinent to those working at the front line of high technology and our support as an HR team is essential in enabling this to happen.