The defence sector continues to develop and provide battle winning and state of the art capability to our Armed Forces across all platforms, land, sea and air, in an ever changing world at an incredible pace and agility.


The defence sector continues to develop and provide battle winning and state of the art capability to our Armed Forces across all platforms, land, sea and air, in an ever changing world at an incredible pace and agility.


With this development we continue to explore and deliver the art of the possible into areas of conflict
and unrest where people’s lives really do depend on what we do and as such, the quality professional is recognised as playing a pivotal role in minimising and managing risk for our respective businesses, customers and end user community. It should also be noted that more than ever the role of the quality
professional is changing within the defence sector and we collectively, as a profession, need to be keeping
pace with these demands to ensure that dependable assurance is applied across all aspects of our businesses.

The Chartered Quality Institute’s (CQI) Defence Industry Group (DIG) has been in place over a number of years and has a primary focus of:

  • Encouraging and supporting young people leaving academia to become quality professionals within the
    defence sector
  • Providing networking, experience and knowledge sharing across peers within the defence industry
  • Supporting learning, development and professional progression for all quality professionals within the industry and those who are wishing to make a career change into the quality profession

To ensure focus, direction and momentum for the DIG, a steering committee is in place with defined and agreed terms of reference, which consists of members from the MOD, major businesses within the defence industry and the CQI.

The DIG steering committee will continue to engage with and act on behalf of the extended DIG community to ensure continued alignment with, and development of, the role of quality within the defence industry to ensure the appropriate support is available and being developed.

Gary Illingworth FCQI CQP
Chair of the Defence Industry Group
Head of Quality, Leonardo, EW and AS-UK



Providing you with confidence

Protecting your reputation

CQI Competency Framework

Helping defence sector business deliver effective governance, agile assurance and continual improvement whilst protecting stakeholder reputation and improving customer confidence.


This prospectus, prepared by the CQI Defence Special Interest Group, is designed with the intent of providing an informative insight into the role the quality profession plays within the defence sector. Whether you are an established business leader or someone starting out on your professional journey and yet to decide on your career path, the document outlines the benefits the quality professional brings to an organisation.

The Quality Professional

Within your organisation is there to act as a critical friend; providing advice and guidance, championing change and protecting and enhancing reputation by delivering agile assurance holistically across the organisation.

They do this by applying the following defining principles of quality:

Leadership – creating and managing the organisation’s systems of governance, ensuring their effectiveness and continual improvement.

Relationship management – understanding the organisation’s stakeholders and their requirements.

Evidence based decision making – to establish clear priorities for change.

Engagement of people – ensuring people have the competence to meet business objectives.

Improvement – working with leaders and managers to transform processes, behaviour and culture.

Customer focus – taking a customer centric view of the organisation, ensuring their interests are understood and met.

Process approach – looking holistically across the organisation, understanding the relationship between processes and identifying improvements.

The risk of removing the organisation’s conscience

Recent history is, unfortunately, littered with examples where effective quality management and quality control have been sacrificed for apparent short term gain without proper consideration of the downside risks inherent in such an approach. The increased regulatory scrutiny, financial penalties (and associated loss of stakeholder confidence) as well as, in some cases, losses of life serve as poignant reminders that following such a path is fraught with risk.

A business should promote a culture of effective governance, agile assurance and continual improvement from the board to the shop floor through an investment in quality. The implementation and maintenance of an effective business management system
is likely to deliver longer term, sustainable growth and experience greater customer confidence in its ability to be able to continually deliver a product/ service to cost and quality.

A career in quality within the defence sector, is extremely rewarding and challenging, and also comes with high levels of responsibilities and expectations from both customers and employers. It is incumbent upon us, as quality professionals, to ensure that we are continuously striving to meet, and indeed exceed these expectations.

Keeping up to date with required standards, latest quality techniques and tools is not easy to do in isolation. Membership of an organisation like the CQI provides a significant support to career development and enables individuals to achieve their career aspirations.

In addition, applying for and gaining CQI membership, particularly at Chartered Status, recognises both a personal commitment to quality and a level of competence that is accepted both within your current organisation, by your peers and potential future employers. The competencies in the CQI Competency Framework,which have been developed in conjunction with industry, are an integral part of all quality professionals career and personal development plans and are an excellent way of understanding your current skills, knowledge,
behaviours and experience but also any gaps which need to be addressed to support and develop future opportunities.

Within Thales, we encourage and sponsor our quality staff to become CQI members and take advantage of the wider quality community, both at local branch and UK level events, to broaden their knowledge, and share experiences and best practice.

Personally, as a member of the CQI Defence Industries Special Interest Steering Group, I have been able to both support improvements
within Thales, and gained personal satisfaction, from discussing and sharing common issues with fellow senior quality professionals from similar businesses. By working together we are able to share our experiences and expertise for the benefit of both our own
organisations and the defence quality community as a whole.

Anne Howard
UK Head of Customer Satisfaction & Quality Systems, Thales

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