Last year I saw the retirement of a couple of individuals in my company who had pretty much been around for as long as I could remember, certainly in excess of 30 years. Seeing them go was a bit of a shock; like suddenly finding your favourite armchair missing from the corner of the room, and it made me reflect on the general state of the industry. The following figure shows the demographic distribution from the attendees of the last Safety-Critical Systems Club Symposium in February 2022.
With a sample of around 125, I hope it not too much of a leap to suggest that this might give a reasonable reflection of the industry, and it’s a sobering picture. Given that many pension funds allow retirement at 55, in theory at least, almost 40% of the workforce could disappear tomorrow.
At SSS’22 we reflected on the past but also looked to the future and while we were excited about the technological challenges ahead, I think one of our most important challenges is to ensure that we will have the people in sufficient numbers with the right skills and competencies required to meet these challenges.
So where do we go from here? I believe one of the most important initiatives is the SCSC’s Safety Future Initiative (SFI) that sets out to support the development of the next generation of safety practitioners. I would therefore whole-heartedly encourage you all to help support this. The SFI are currently looking for volunteers and I’m sure we can all play a part: from offering to act as a mentor through to looking at the junior people in your own companies – is there anyone you could encourage to develop an interest in systems safety? Are there other experienced people who could cross-train into the discipline?
To see the work of the SFI first hand, Laure Buysse has very kindly provided an article to introduce herself and provide her thoughts on her career and the work of the SFI.
There are also other interesting feature articles, with Nick Hales providing an example of using his Layered Enterprise Data Safety Model to gain insights into the Manchester Arena bombing of 2017. Dhanabal Arunachalam discusses a proposed safety analysis technique that allows synergy between safety and cybersecurity during the development of autonomous vehicles and Divya and Martin Atkins introduce a new tool to help those implementing the Data Safety Guidance to manage data safety risks.
We have an event report by Bernard Twomey from “The Future of Testing for Safety-Critical Systems” seminar and Dave Banham provides a report of the latest SCSC Tech Trip to the RAF Museum Midlands (Cosford). As introduced in the last edition, in our “Recent Publications” section we have another book review with Malcolm Jones providing his thoughts on the 2nd Edition of the book “System Safety for the 21st Century” by Richard A. Stephans.
Our 60 second interview is with Phil Koopman an internationally recognised expert on Autonomous Vehicles.
Paul Hampton SCSC Newsletter Editor