Defence and Security

Defence and Security

The Royal AIr Force Logo Colour

Employers in this sector include government security agencies, military equipment manufacturers and the armed forces. There are a range of career opportunities within this sector and most organisations continually recruit for people at different levels and in diverse specialisations. For many people in this field, serving their country is a lifetime ambition, an honour and a privilege.

But until 2000 it was unlawful for LGB people to serve in the military. The emergence of out LGBT people, as well as visible senior allies, confirms how much progress this sector has made and continues to make.

Organisations are pushing beyond just legal compliance to become LGBT
employers of choice. Many have proactive internal networks that offer advice and support for LGBT staff and their non-LGBT colleagues, ensuring that all staff are able to reach their full potential.

There was not enough data to provide index statistics for this sector.

Defence and Security Section supported by The Royal Air Force

In FocusPortrait of Sqn Ldr Coles

Squadron Leader Gregory Coles, Aero Systems Engineering Officer, Royal Air Force

How did you come to work for the RAF?

I became interested in military aircraft and engineering during my time as a member of the Air Cadet Organisation. I was accepted for an engineering bursary to support my studies at university and I officially joined the RAF in 2008. I’m currently a senior engineering officer, supporting Typhoon aircraft around the world. Working for the RAF is hugely rewarding – you’re presented with unique challenges and no one day is the same.

What’s it like being LGBT in the RAF?

The RAF is one of the most progressive and inclusive defence organisations, understanding that diversity brings strength. As an engineer, I’ve worked with some of the most sophisticated aircraft and technology in the world in very arduous conditions, where the ability to be my true self has brought out the best in me. I’ve been fully supported by the organisation and so have my husband and family while I’ve been away.

Are you involved in the RAF’s LGBT network group?

I’m a co-chair for the Royal Air Force LGBT Freedom Network, which ensures we have inclusive policies and a visible presence, so personnel can turn to us if required. By continuing to educate all our personnel, LGBT or otherwise, we ensure we get the best from our people. You can also engage with us on social media if you have specific questions about career fields and lived experiences.

 

Corporal Kelly Flynn, Cyberspace Communications Specialist, Royal Air ForceTeam Benson - 100 Faces

What’s the best thing about working in the RAF?

So many great things! I’ve had opportunities I never would have had as a civilian, like taking part in the Queen’s Birthday Fly-over in 2017. I work across a wide variety of technical roles, including safeguarding our UK-based IT networks from intrusions and coordinating the RAF’s array of information. I’ve been deployed around the world and worked on a wide range of communications systems alongside our allied nations.

As an LGBT person, what’s it like working in the RAF?

As a lesbian, I’m extremely proud to serve in the Royal Air Force. Since the lifting of the ban on LGB serving in 2000, the Armed Forces have made great strides in providing a progressive, safe environment for LGBT personnel. Working in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sector I’m in the minority, both as a lesbian and a woman, but neither have negatively impacted my career. The RAF’s inclusive culture lets me thrive in a job I love, while being fully supported in expressing my sexual orientation.

What advice you give to an LGBT person thinking about a career in the RAF?

Go for it! The RAF offers fantastic opportunities in STEM and you can gain an apprenticeship and other civilian recognised qualifications. LGBT people are fully supported and your colleagues become a second family. The RAF genuinely gives you a career where you can be your true self.