I am incredibly proud to work for Defence and especially for DIO, an organisation that employs some 5,500 people, of which around 600 are overseas.
One of the greatest privileges I have as Chief of Staff is seeing first-hand how the work that DIO does supports Defence in every imaginable way. An important part of my job is to meet staff and find out more about the work they do and how they individually support DIO to provide infrastructure for Defence. I have been very struck by the varied roles people do in DIO both in the UK and overseas to support military capability.
We have a significant number of staff who work for us overseas, and I have been fortunate enough to visit some of our bases. Whether I am in the Falklands Islands, our training estate in Canada or visiting Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) I have been impressed to see how dedicated our staff are, how clear they are of our purpose and the high calibre work they do to support our military.
DIO in Brunei
My most recent trip took me to visit DIO staff in the Far East. I visited DIO colleagues based in Brunei, a small team who provide hard and soft facilities management services to support a Brunei-based regiment.
As impressed as I was to see such high quality service family accommodation, an outstanding school and top-notch mess facilities, I was even more impressed, no, humbled to meet the talented people that we employ in Brunei. From architects to civil, mechanical and electrical engineers, I met a full complement of skilled and dedicated employees. Better yet, they are bucking global trends, with most of them being women.
It really brought home to me the important role DIO must play as a global employer in offering equality of opportunity and fulfilling careers to people based on talent alone. There are 30 locally employed civilians (LECs) in Brunei, who carry out a variety of work including gas checks, plumbing, electric repairs and painting. I saw how our LECs communicate and build essential strong working relationships with our contractors and suppliers, without them we wouldn’t be able to carry out the quality of work we do.
DIO in Singapore
From Brunei I went to Singapore to meet the DIO team stationed there. They look after a fuel depot that is an integral part of our Five Powers Defence Arrangements, an agreement that ensures Defence co-operation between the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore. DIO has 16 LECs in Singapore who run the strategic oil fuel depot for UK and foreign naval vessels. It became extremely clear after speaking to them and learning about their roles that the work our people do in Singapore is enormously important for maintaining our alliances and our global soft power.
Doing great work all over the world
Our LECs are well supported by our DIO Royal Engineers and civil servants and through their leadership they ensure the LECs deliver valuable work and remain linked to our organisation back in the UK. I am extremely grateful to those who facilitated my visit to the Far East, to everyone I met for making me feel welcome, and spending valuable time showing me the work that they do. As with all my visits I found it inspiring and was left with a lasting impression of the good work our staff do on the other side of the world.