Grace Johnstone

I was 16 years old when I embarked on my career in technology, at British Aerospace on a Craft Apprenticeship.

On completion I became an Aircraft Electrician working on the companies Development Tornado and Hawk fleets, where I was the only female. After 4.5 years I took the difficult decision to leave the role I loved in the search for more knowledge. Here I took on my first Technical role as a Flight Test Specialist working on the Typhoon Avionics and Armaments System where I gained the responsibility for the Integration of Air-to-Air Missiles. This role gave me my first real experience of working with multi-national Suppliers and directly with the end user, it was a fantastic experience.

It is from here where my career really started to blossom and I subsequently progressed to a Senior Certification Engineer responsible for the delivery of all Typhoon Development and Production Aircraft Clearances. It was at this point that I managed my first team and also gained further experience working Internationally with different cultures and languages, little did I know then that these experiences would be so important to my future.

A Technical Integration Manager Role then followed working across all of the Aircrafts’ systems in a Virtual Team. This involved working extremely closely with the Multi-national Customer community, providing them with regular briefings and up-dates on key programmes.

I then gained the responsibility of the Development, Certification and Delivery of the Typhoons’ Integrated Monitoring and Recording System it was during this role where I obtained my first Design Signatory and Compliance Verification Engineer (CVE) accreditation. Four and a half years on and I am now a Principle Engineer with Design Signatory and CVE for the Typhoon Avionics Systems leading a multi national team of more than twenty engineers, across multiple programmes with a value in excess of £3.5m.