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Security Cleared EXPO Review | Laura Surridge

Posted on November 2023

Female recruiter speaks to delegate at Security Cleared EXPO
We were delighted to attend last week’s Security Cleared EXPO at the QEII Centre, reconnecting with our valued partners and making many first-time connections.

Laura Surridge, specialist consultant on our Defence and Security team, reflects on the frequent topics of discussion and how her background in the Royal Air Force enhanced her understanding of the challenges faced when entering a new career after military service.


Our Defence, Security and Technology team were delighted to attend the recent Security Cleared EXPO at the QEII Centre, and it proved to be a vibrant event with queues frequently forming at our stand. A number of the delegates I spoke to had come from careers in the military, with some having served for several decades. This was also my background prior to entering recruitment, having joined the RAF and worked for more than four years as an Intelligence Analysis Linguist focusing on the Russian language. This taught me that working in the military is a lifestyle, not simply a career, and moving into a different field of work can be a daunting step; discovering my background helped to reassure delegates of our knowledge of this transition and also the possibilities that could be open to them.

A major feature in this line of work is obtaining a DV clearance; the process for this is long and demanding, and this authorisation is lost once you begin a job for which it's not required. Therefore those with the clearance who are looking to move into contract work are understandably keen to find a role which will allow them to retain it. I spoke to several people who had spent most – if not all – of their careers working with submarines in the navy, and was able to advise that they needn’t leave that industry altogether, as we were currently hiring for several roles which work either in or with submarines. One delegate had served as an officer in the army for more than 20 years, was now looking for a new role and unsure where to start, I discussed the many transferrable skills that his extensive experience had afforded and the variety of DV-Cleared career options this could lead to.

The military-provided resettlement period is an excellent opportunity to receive funded training and skills development. There was a particular interest among the delegates pursuing careers in Project Management, and we were able to recommend PRINCE2 as a major training route. We also advised that companies would look for candidates with knowledge and experience of different project management methodologies such as Waterfall and Agile, while working knowledge of the planning software Primavera P6 is an invaluable training option during resettlement.

Some delegates expressed frustration that they were unable to find relevant roles in the current market; from the other direction, hiring managers often struggle to source qualified, security-cleared candidates as the discreet nature of their work limits what they can disclose on their CV, making them less visible in searches. Our role is crucial to bridge this gap, as the relationships we build with candidates at events such as these allows us to discuss the experience they’ve gained and the direction they’re looking to move into, suggesting roles which would be of interest and representing them before organisations which would greatly benefit from their expertise.

It was a pleasure to meet so many dedicated professionals at this year’s event, and I’m looking forward to following up on these conversations. With the demand on the Defence sector showing no signs of slowing down, it’s our privilege to make these connections which serve an indispensable role in the life and security of our nation and to uphold our pledge as a Silver member of the Armed Forces Covenant.


For our latest roles in defence, security and technology, or to discuss how we can support your organisation, contact Laura Surridge on 020 7557 7667 or email