Victoria Cope

UK Head of Category Management for Metal, BAE Systems

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Take and maximize every opportunity that is offered to you - career paths don’t necessarily run in straight lines.

What do you do?

I lead a pan plc team of procurement professionals to sustainably procure, consume and dispose of metal across the company, for ships, submarines, aircraft and munitions. The team works cross functionally to deliver enterprise level contracts, to buy metal cheaper, more efficiently, reduce the amount of metal required, use more efficiently and maximise the value from recycling scrap metal.

Why did you choose this field?

From a young age I was always fascinated with aircraft and how things work. When an ‘old girl’ guest came to my school and spoke passionately about her job as an aerodynamicist at Ferrari. I decided that aeronautical engineering would be my future career of choice and I wanted to be a leader within the aerospace industry. My father had worked his way up from an electrical apprenticeship role at Hawker Sidely to gain his first director role within his twenties and became a director of Meggitt plc in later years, he has been a huge inspiration and taught me the work ethic and values need to achieve my full potential. I undertook a master’s degree in engineering at Loughborough University and became a chartered aeronautical engineer following a progression into leadership roles in engineering at Airbus helicopters and QinetiQ. I realised early on in my career that I enjoyed the softer people influencing element of aerospace and defence which, utilised my negotiation skills as well as my technical background to deliver value to the business and therefore moved into the contracts and sales function of the business. Within typical manufacturing contract ~60% of the value of that contract comes through the supply chain therefore procurement is an important function to operate in and can bring real value to the business and customers by getting a great deal in place. Doing a great deal with a supplier or customer is something that gives me those ‘Yes!’ moments within my career therefore I chose the contract management profession as a career path.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

If you’d have told me that I would have spent a key part of my career advising governments across the world on their defence procurement policy and multi billion pound procurement decisions, I would have thought you were talking about a James Bond movie rather than my life. I’m exceptionally proud and honoured to have had such an opportunity and gained through having a solid STEM foundation.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I am passionate about STEM! Its challenges and opportunities inspire me daily, to achieve a meaningful legacy and collectively work with fellow STEM colleagues to push the boundaries of engineering - to support national security, development of industry capability, improvement of productivity and secure sustainable economic growth.

Best advice for next generation?

Take and maximize every opportunity that is offered to you - career paths don’t necessarily run in straight lines. You will have been selected for opportunities offered to you for your skill and competency. If the opportunity is a step forward towards your end goal, take the chance to succeed.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you do you will be successful.” - Albert Schweitzer

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