Robert Townsend. Senior Technical Architect (Radio and Telecoms). 15 years as a ships radio and electronics officer in the Merchant Navy. I joined the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in January 2006 initially in the radio and navigation standards and policy unit, but moved to IT in 2007 in order to deliver frontline services.

I liken IT to the “Engine Room” of a ship in that   we are an enabling unit for all operational and support functions which means I get to work with people all over the Agency. Previous to my current role I was Head of Coastguard Technology Services which had a diverse array of subject matter ranging from securing site access for engineers to one of our unmanned remote radio sites, managing telecoms projects, replacing 30m radio towers and presenting a Business Case to a Management Board. In my current role as a Senior Technical Architect, I am service owner for various radio and telecoms systems such as radio towers and telephony with a remit to roadmap our services and systems and to design future services, many of which must align to international mandate.

Working for the MCA presents numerous opportunities for contributing to the provision of quality  public services as well as working with all sorts of people with their own unique backgrounds, skills and experiences.

We have an engaging ethos and a team spirit which nurtures talent and which provides career paths in a challenging but ultimately rewarding arena. You get an enormous sense of pride when you hear about the successes of our front line services such as HM Coastguard, Counter Pollution and Survey Branch.

The array of subject matter is one of the chief attractions. We have numerous areas of responsibility all of which ultimately contribute to maritime safety.  I have spent time at the DfT in London, attended IMO sessions, undertaken project work from the northern most tip of the Shetland Island to the Scillies and have attended international conferences worldwide. I have undertaken numerous training courses that have significantly enhanced my career – covering technical and architecture as well as project and programme management.